Former Spandau Ballet frontman Tony Hadley has joined forces with musicians who have worked with BFBS Live Events to release a charity single for Christmas.
The COVID-19 pandemic might have wiped the 2020 diary clean for most of the musicians who work for BFBS Live Events (formerly CSE) but that has not stopped them from getting into the Christmas spirit with not one but two charity Christmas singles released in December.
Singer Tony Hadley, who rose to fame with Spandau Ballet, is joining forces with Samuel Wilcock, Sinead Quinn, Iain Hornal and Gaz Twist who are all musicians who have graced BFBS Live Event stages over the years and performed worldwide, including several trips to Afghanistan and decompression in Cyprus.
Outside of this, they have also been involved with the charity Electric Umbrella.
Electric Umbrella's 'accidental' Christmas single started to come together just six weeks ago. Written by Tom Billington (Artistic Director of Electric Umbrella), Jo Webb and Electric Umbrella, and featuring more than 100 of their members alongside a few famous faces too including Sophie Ellis Bextor, CSE stalwart Tony Hadley and Dan Sells from The Feeling.
The song, entitled The Best Christmas (In Lockdown) was recorded remotely during the online workshops, getting each member into online breakout rooms and recording each part separately over a few short weeks.
This charity aims to challenge the perception of people with learning disabilities by empowering and enriching their lives through music. Tony Hadley said:
"I was delighted to be approached by Electric Umbrella. They do amazing work supporting people with learning disabilities. It was truly an honour to sing alongside them - albeit remotely.
"It’s a lovely song and I hope they can score a Christmas number 1 with it."
Before COVID, Electric Umbrella were delivering shows and tours as well as highly successful weekly music workshops, enhancing the lives of people with learning disabilities by teaching them to sing and play instruments and giving them the space to perform live in front of audiences around the country.
When COVID struck, these activities stopped which had a huge impact on the mental health and wellbeing of Electric Umbrella members. The team behind the charity worked hard to come up with a way of moving the sessions online. These sessions became a lifeline, giving them the opportunity to continue making music and engaging with each other over video calls.
Sam Wilcock said: "It was so important to keep the momentum going of the live workshops, so moving it online, although logistically challenging, has been so worthwhile.
"These workshops make them feel on top of the world during a really difficult and challenging time.
"The song is so uplifting and you can see how excited everyone is to be involved on the video. They can truly feel like they are the best band and be really proud of what they’ve achieved."
You can download the single on iTunes and all money raised goes to Electric Umbrella. The official single video below is guaranteed to bring a tear of Christmas joy to your eyes:
Next up are The X Rays or should that be The Xmas Rays? A band who have also worked tirelessly for the BFBS Live Events team including trips to Afghanistan, Oman and The Falklands. Craig Dutton and Toby Wightman have worked hard on this cover song (with an interesting history) to raise money for Children With Cancer UK.
The song is called 'It’s Christmas Time Again' and features many musicians and family members performing to raise money for this great charity. The song was originally written following the Kings Cross Fire in 1987 by Terry Dutton, Craig’s father, to raise funds for the families following the disaster. Craig recalls:
"I was 7 at the time and I actually sang on the original record. During the pandemic I wanted to do something useful with my time and I’ve really missed performing at live gigs, so it was nice to get together remotely with friends and family and make this happen.
"We decided we wanted to do something this year to help raise some money for the Children With Cancer UK charity, charities have really struggled this year with their shops closed and fundraising activities cancelled so we wanted to do something to help raise funds. My 7-year-old son also sings on the song and is in the video so there was a nice synergy to it."
That’s not the only synergy as keyboard player Edu Bisa Bisogno also features on the Electric Umbrella song.
Watch the gorgeous video...yet again another one to bring a tear of joy during these dark days...