LEH Music Department sings for Royal Wedding
The LEH Music Department was asked by BBC Radio 1 to provide some young singers to film a Royal Wedding spoof video last week with Tom Fletcher from McFly! So some names were drawn out of a hat and the result is now going out across the BBC...
The full story from Mrs Ashe
It was any other Friday just before a Bank Holiday weekend when Mrs Ellis (of physics fame) burst into Mrs Ashe’s office. "My daughter Sophie has a request for you", she explained. (Sophie Ellis works for Radio One, is an old girl of LEH and was a Holles Singer.) She explained that Radio 1 was proposing to film a spoof video of the upcoming royal wedding, based on Tom Fletcher‘s famous wedding song. Tom Fletcher was on board with the project and rewriting the lyrics and they were booking a bunch of royal lookalikes, but there is a choir at the end of the video. Would LEH be able to provide about nine singers aged about 11 to 14 years old who could sing that bit at the end of the video? "Of course we could", replied Mrs Ashe confidently. When is this happening? Well, we’re filming it on Wednesday. Ah. And it’s a Bank Holiday.
Mrs Ashe listened to the video and realised that they were singing in three-part harmony so asked if there was sheet music available. No, we haven’t got anything like that. Can you get it direct from the YouTube video? Righto – we can do that. “We’d like some boys in it as well because it was a mixed choir in the original video”, they said. So we placed a late Friday afternoon call to Mr Roland at Hampton School for some boys to join the merry crew.
Names of singers were put into a hat by both schools and the selected few were invited to take part. But it was a top secret project and we had to keep it to ourselves, as Radio 1 wanted it to be a surprise.
Over the weekend Mr and Mrs Ashe transcribed the children’s choir parts. Mr Roland and Mrs Ashe acquired consent forms and parental agreement from all the parents. The first rehearsal was on Tuesday lunchtime, at which the children were told they had to learn it off by heart before tomorrow. The second and final rehearsal was the following day before leaving for the recording that evening.
We arrived at the Jesus Chapel in central London and Tom Fletcher requested a runthrough with our singers. They were marvellous – real pros – and the whole BBC crew clapped. At this point Mrs Ashe commented to the choir that some of the tuning was a bit iffy and Mr Ashe said in a reassuring manner to Tom “Well, don’t worry - if you listen to the choir, you’ll get your tuning much better on the second go”. Horrified gasp from us all for a split second before we realised that Mr Ashe was teasing. (Tom looked very relieved.) The royal lookalikes were amazing and it was a very happy occasion. The BBC Radio One team were enthusiastic and energetic, and the producer Will Wilkin was really appreciative of the marvellous harmonies the children were producing. Their parents had been asked to dress up as wedding guests in case they were in shot and it was a celebratory atmosphere.
Eight takes later, it was all done and dusted. Tom came over to tell the children how wonderful they were and to ask which schools they were from. When we said LEH and Hampton he said, “I presume those are Performing Arts schools”, at which we all blushed modestly and said no, but that we loved music and did a lot of it. He said how blown away he had been by their singing and how it was a much more pleasant experience for him this time, as he had not even heard the choir before his wedding day speech – until they filed in behind him as he was singing. He congratulated and thanked the girls and boys for being his backing singers and we all agreed that we were looking forward to the video’s release across the BBC on Thursday 17th May! What an experience...
Mrs Ashe - Director of Music
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