Former musical theater graduates of the award-winning University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) chamber choir have come together to record a special version of a graduation hymn in a bid to raise funds for the NHS.
Can it be by Enya, is traditionally sung by the UCLan choir during graduation ceremonies that have been postponed this summer due to COVID-19.
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In a week when the ceremonies were scheduled to take place, the former students, under the direction of musician-in-residence and choir director Mark Goggins, released a special version of the song that aims not only to boost morale but also fundraising. valuable to NHS charities.
The project was set up in April via a Facebook call and involved the participation of 101 former choir members.
Once all the parts had been recorded and submitted, it was up to Mark to complete the colossal task of editing and mixing all the vocals and adding orchestral accompaniment.
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Mark said, âIt’s a song that has always been in the repertoire, so anyone who’s ever been in the choir knows that.
âWe sang it several times at graduation ceremonies as well as at concerts. The song is about staying strong, getting out of it, and most important of all, delivering a message of hope. We believe it will strike a chord with anyone who listens to it.
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In addition to their performances, the alumni each uploaded a video of themselves singing so that an accompanying video could also be produced.
One of the alumni involved was Bradley Judge, a choir member in 2014. Since graduating from UCLan, he has pursued a career in musical theater by appearing in a variety of musicals including Sister Act, Grease, Yank !, Pippin, Salad Days, Hairy, and Joseph and the incredible Technicolor Dreamcoat.
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Commenting on the fundraising initiative, Bradley said, âWhen the project was suggested, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. As part of the choir Can it be was my favorite song and it reminds me of so many nostalgic memories.
âI remember singing it in a restaurant in France, like an acapella, because it was the birthday of a local lady. It really is a beautiful song and the finished production is very special.
âIt’s also wonderful to see the different faces of so many people who over the years have been members of the choir.
Watch the video performance below or, if not showing, click here
UCLan alumnus Katy Clayton sang with the choir for three years between 2013 and 2016. After graduating, she appeared in the musical “The Band” which toured the UK for 18 months, including a tour of the West End. Last year she played ‘Janet’ one of the lead roles in the British feature film ‘Me, Myself and Di’ which will be released later in 2020.
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Katy said: âIt is a joy to be part of musical creation, especially when it comes to fundraising for such a great cause.
âThe work that NHS staff, caregivers and volunteers do is incredible and being able to provide charities with support to help with physical and mental health and emotional well-being is vital.
“I hope people will find Can it be, which is essentially the anthem of our choir, as exhilarating in these strange and difficult times as it has been for me to participate in singing it again.
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The one-off performance was included as part of a special email message to all of this year’s graduates from UCLan’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Graham Baldwin and Chancellor Ranvir Singh.
A Just Giving page has been set up to invite people who see the video online to donate to support NHS staff and volunteers caring for COVID-19 patients.
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Are you a former member of the UCLan Chamber Choir? Share your memories with us in the comments below.