A celebratory mood was in the air as the combined choirs of Rock Up and Sing! took to the stage at the Royal Hall to perform a festive spectacular just a week before Christmas Day.
They kicked off in perfect style with the M People hit Proud, bringing energy and enthusiasm from the first note, accompanied by a fantastic live band.
Their first songs, including One Republic’s I Lived, seemed to be an invitation to reflect on the closing year and all that the audience had achieved – and an encouragement to take every opportunity in 2018.
The lower voices particularly stood out in this concert, as the men took centre stage for Rag n Bone Man’s Human. They brought depth to each song, ably supporting the women’s voices and showing how their confidence has grown further, even since their summer concerts.
As always, all the choir members were on fine form, and never more impressive than when giving their own take on familiar rock hits from across the decades.
Rock Up and Sing!’s Youth Choir were given their own moment in the spotlight, beginning with a haunting rendition of Radiohead’s Street Spirit. The sparse arrangement with only Megan Humphries’ harp providing backing music allowed their stunning voices to shine flawlessly.
The second half saw things take a festive turn, with some lesser-known Christmas songs proving perfectly suited to the choirs. From Chris de Burgh’s A Spaceman Came Travelling to the more unusual I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, the harmonies on the ballads were flawless and showed an ability that is rare to see in a community choir.
The night ended on an upbeat rhythm as they danced their way through Stevie Wonder’s What Christmas Means to Me and finished with a bright, bouncy mash-up of Angels We Have Heard on High and Angels From the Realms of Glory. The sparkly festive hats were out in force and choir director Rhiannon Gayle struck exactly the right note with the programme.
The beauty of Rock Up and Sing! is that their enthusiasm and energy course through everything they do – and the audience is powerless to resist. Clapping, singing and dancing along throughout, we were filled with a dose of Christmas spirit that’s sure to keep us going until New Year.