Rock For Hope rocks Wellingborough

Rock Choir is a nationwide organisation that’s widely seen as the world’s largest contemporary choir, with over 20,000 members who have performed at the Genting Arena, Royal Albert Hall and even Wembley.

Rock Choir groups from Northampton, Market Harborough and other surrounding areas came together to perform at The Castle Theatre in Wellingborough, to raise money for The Hope Centre – a charity who offer the homeless a hand up, not a hand out. Rock For Hope, which took place on Saturday, was a sold out event.

Starting their performance with Livin On A Prayer followed by Clean Bandit’s Rather Be, it was clear that the Rock Choir were performing at their peak – complete with swaying, clicking and clapping in time with the music rather than just standing there and singing. Along with numbers such as Budapest by George Ezra and even a couple of Adele songs, arranged expertly with wonderful combinations of ensemble and soloists, there was a performance of Higher Love by James Vincent McMorrow. This track showed the true professionalism of the Rock Choir, when the backing track cut out and they carried on, in time, with near perfect execution.

Posted by Lesley Cuming on Sunday, 17 April 2016

Also performing was Vox – a classical quartet of female singers, featuring choir leader Jess Hunting. Their performance was significantly different to the vibrancy of the Rock Choir, especially with just four ladies and a pianist on stage. Most of their songs were lullabies and classical songs, but there was an interesting rendition of Handel and even Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald and Moon River.

Following an interval, the choir performed songs like I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness (complete with headbanging) and Hold My Hand by Jess Glynne. There was even a surprise appearance by Northampton Saints mascot Bernie. Their encore was an incredibly positive rendition of Don’t Stop Me Now which was a perfect ending to a very fun evening with musical excellence being celebrated – it was just a bunch of women (and three men) having fun for a very worthy cause.

It’s very important to remember the people directly affected by poverty and homelessness in the UK – something highlighted by a performance poet on the night. He played the character of a homeless man, with a can of beer and cigarette in hand as well as dirty clothes and a small bag of possessions. It was at the end of his performance where he removed the dirty clothes, revealing a suit and waistcoat beneath, that it was truly clear that homeless people are the same as “us” when a few layers are peeled back. “It’s the little things that make the difference between life and death”, he said, and it’s true – basic human interaction is what we all crave each day for a healthy mind. It must be horrible to live on the streets and feel pushed out of society, ignored by passers by who would rather cross the road than face the problem.

The Hope Centre is a centre in Northampton which tackles poverty and homelessness, by offering hand ups rather than hand outs. It has a computer room with volunteers to help apply for jobs or fill in forms, a clothing store with free underwear and socks, workshops and activities as well as television, books and people to talk to. The Hope Centre is also a Big Issue distributor for Northampton. While limited to the local area, it’s a step in the right direction to face the societal issues of homelessness and poverty that sweep through the country and affect everywhere in the world, let alone the UK – and The Hope Centre really does do some terrific work.

All in all, Rock For Hope was a fantastic night to celebrate the talent of over 200 people who sing for fun. It meant supporting a local and important cause as well as everyone enjoying music and coming away inspired. Fingers crossed for another Rock Choir performance of this calibre and magnitude in future!

Jessica Allen

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