Rock Choir

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Rock Choir
Rock Choir Logo 2014.jpg
Rock Choir Official Logo
Origin UK
Genre Pop, gospel and Motown
Members >17,500
Website www.rockchoir.com

Rock Choir is described as being the United Kingdom's original, and the world's largest, contemporary choir.[1] It holds three Guinness World Records – 'biggest hit act in the UK',[2] 'largest musical act to release an album (signed)'[3] and 'largest song and dance routine held at multiple locations'.[4][5] Rock Choir offers teenagers and adults the chance to sing pop, Motown, gospel and chart songs without the need to audition, read music or have any previous singing experience.[6] On 16 July 2010 the Daily Mail called it "Britain's biggest choral movement."[7] In November 2014 it had more than 16,000 members rehearsing in 300 locations throughout the UK.[8] In August 2011, Coutts Woman Magazine described Rock Choir as "a community singing phenomenon that is sweeping the country," and "one of Britain's biggest brands."[9]

History[edit]

Rock Choir was established in 2005 by musician and singer Caroline Redman Lusher.[7] The Sunday Times Culture magazine said 'its formula is unique. Learning by rote (repetition, not sheet music), amateurs rehearse harmonies and choreographed movements to those hits that everybody knows and impulsively sings along to'.[10] Redman Lusher first came up with the concept in the 1990s, while teaching music and performing arts at Farnborough 6th Form College, Hampshire. To help students pass their singing modules, she introduced weekly group singing sessions in which she taught three-part harmonies to well-liked songs. It became so popular that she decided to offer the concept to the general public.[7] In 2005, Redman Lusher placed an advertisement for Rock Choir in a coffee shop in Farnham, Surrey, which initially attracted the first 70 members.

Redman Lusher said: ‘I started saving my salary as a teacher and handed in my notice. My mother had come up with the name over a cup of tea and a friend's son designed the logo for me to put on the posters! By July I had left my job and also borrowed £1,000 from my father David to buy a portable piano, P.A. and head mic. We hired a local hall and put out 40 chairs. 70 people walked in. Some told me they’d been stopped from singing in the school choir many years ago, or their husbands or children would tease them and wouldn’t let them sing in the house'.[11]

Public performances[edit]

Rock Choir's first local public performance was in November 2005, at the Farnham Maltings, Surrey, raising money for Age Concern. More Rock Choir performances followed in 2006 and 2007 at a wide range of local events, including the annual music festival, GuilFest. The growing success of Rock Choir has led to increasing regional and national press interest.

Album recording[edit]

On 1 April 2009, BBC Breakfast showed a pre-filmed clip of a Rock Choir rehearsal and interviewed Redman Lusher live in the studio. Afterwards Redman Lusher was contacted by Universal Records, who offered Rock Choir a multi-album record deal. A few months later, 987 Rock Choir members aged between 6 and 70 recorded Rock Choir Vol. 1. With no recording studio able to accommodate such a large number of singers, Decca hired a school in Cranleigh, Surrey and sent a mobile recording studio.[7]

Rock Choir Vol. 1 was released in July 2010 and reached number 1 in the Amazon charts, entering the top 20 in the UK album charts. Tom Lewis, Head of A&R for Universal’s label, Decca Records, described it as "The feel-good album of the year."[12] Talking about the phenomenon on his BBC Radio 2 show, presenter Chris Evans said, "Music industry records are set to be smashed."[7]

On the release of the album, Redman Lusher said to The Daily Telegraph; "To have the opportunity of making an album that will be released worldwide is extraordinary. I am so very proud of all of them. Rock Choir has turned into a bit of a fairy tale."[13] To celebrate the album launch, every member of Rock Choir was invited to sing at a special celebratory performance at the Hammersmith Apollo, which also helped raise awareness for the charity Refuge. Over 3,000 Rock Choir members attended.[14]

The Soldiers tour[edit]

In 2010 Rock Choir supported The Soldiers – a singing trio consisting of three serving British Army soldiers – on their UK-wide 'Coming Home' tour. Redman Lusher sang as a solo artist on their album, which reached double platinum status. She joined them and Rock Choir as a soloist on the tour, which culminated in a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.[7]

'The Choir That Rocks'[edit]

In 2010, Redman Lusher was approached by 10 Star Entertainment and ITV, who wanted to produce a documentary following the Rock Choir story. By now Rock Choir had over 8,000 members across the UK. In January 2011, the TV crews filmed Redman Lusher, her team and the members as Rock Choir prepared for its biggest ever show at Wembley Arena. The filming featured new choirs as they opened in Yorkshire, Scotland and Dorset, and resulted in a three-part ITV1 documentary 'The Choir That Rocks', which was aired in June 2011, and repeated in September 2011. After the first episode, 23,000 people logged on to the Rock Choir website, crashing the server, and 8,000 people emailed with membership enquiries.[9] The second Rock Choir album, 'Rock Choir Deluxe', was released at the same time as the TV show.

Charity work[edit]

Rock Choir is a small family-run organisation, not a franchise.[15][16] Since its beginning, it has raised thousands of pounds for local and national charities through its performances and membership events, including its two official charities; Refuge and Missing People.[17] In March 2012, Rock Choir carried out a series of nationwide flash mobs and performances in support of Sport Relief, which raised over £11,000 for the Comic Relief charity.[18]

Recordings[edit]

Rock Choir Vol. 1[edit]

The first Rock Choir album, Rock Choir Vol. 1 was released in July 2010 and reached number 1 in five different Amazon charts, entering the top 20 in the UK album charts. The CD cover contains the name of every Rock Choir member that year. Tom Lewis, Head of A&R for Decca Records, the Universal label releasing the album, said: "Rock Choir is a phenomenon. When you hear them sing, it makes you feel fantastic. It's totally infectious stuff."[19]

Rock Choir Deluxe[edit]

The second Rock Choir album, Rock Choir Deluxe, was released digitally and featured 7 additional new tracks some of which made up elements of the musical content on ITV1’s documentary ‘The Choir That Rocks’. These include Electric Light Orchestra's ‘Mr Blue Sky’ and a Teen Rock Choir version of Florence and the Machine's ‘You Got The Love’. Rock Choir Deluxe also features a recording of Labi Siffre's (Something Inside) So Strong sung live at Wembley Arena by around 7,500 Rock Choir members, with Redman Lusher taking lead vocal.

Perfect Day (album) (Various Artists)[edit]

When Sony and Decca were looking for tracks for the double album compilation Perfect Day, the Rock Choir track (Something Inside) So Strong, featuring Redman Lusher singing solo vocals, was selected. Rock Choir took their place on this album alongside acts such as Eva Cassidy, Russell Watson and Sting.

Discography[edit]

  • Rock Choir Vol. 1 (2010)
  • Perfect Day (album) (Various Artists) (2010)
  • Rock Choir Deluxe (2011)

Notable achievements[edit]

Rock Choir has achieved three Guinness World Records to date: 'the largest musical act to release an album (signed)' on 20 June 2010[3] followed by 'the biggest hit act in the UK' just a month later on 17 July 2010.[2] On 23 June 2012, a total of 7,914 Rock Choir members successfully completed a synchronised nationwide performance of the Bryan Adams and Melanie C duet 'Baby When You're Gone', winning them the record for 'the largest song and dance routine held at multiple locations'.[4][5]

Notable performances[edit]

Rock Choir trademark[edit]

The Rock Choir name and website are trademarks of Rock Choir Ltd. All rights are reserved.

The following is a complete and exhaustive list of the groups, companies (profit and not for profit) or general entities that are legally licensed by Rock Choir Ltd to use its trademarks:

  1. Universal Music Group
  2. Decca Records
  3. 10 Star Entertainment
  4. ITV

Rock Choir is committed to using music fairly, in line with the Musicians' Union Code of Fair Practice, and has licensing agreements with the following publishers including their subsidiaries to use music under their control: EMI; ATV Music Publishing; Universal Music Publishing; Music Sales; PRS for Music; MCPS; Carlin America; Warner/Chappell Music; Alfred Music Publishing; Bocu and Faber Music.[20] Rock Choir is committed to using newsprint and online news content fairly and respecting newsprint copyright. Rock Choir and rockchoir.com are licensed by the NLA (Newspaper Licensing Authority) to reproduce news articles.[21]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amazing Rock Choir Facts, Official ITV website, accessed 19 July 2012
  2. ^ a b Guinness World Records website, accessed 19 July 2012
  3. ^ a b Guinness World Records website, accessed 19 July 2012
  4. ^ a b Nurse, Jon Get Wokingham 'Rock Choir Join Forces in World Record Attempt' 28 June 2012
  5. ^ a b Unk. The Scotsman 'Choir Rocks the Capital' 17 July 2012
  6. ^ Unk. Get Hampshire 'Rock Choir plays hometown shows' 27 June 2012
  7. ^ a b c d e f Boase, Tessa The Daily Mail 'Move over, Glee! It started as a bit of fun, now Rock Choir could be set to open the 2012 Olympics' 16 July 2010
  8. ^ Jones-Berry, Stephanie Get Surrey 'Rock Choir 'flash mob' raises Sport Relief cash' 27 March 2012
  9. ^ a b Walshe, Barbara Coutts Woman Magazine 'Caroline Redman Lusher - Rock Star' accessed 19 July 2012
  10. ^ Boase, Tessa 'Singing is Believing' The Sunday Times Culture Magazine, 22 March 2009
  11. ^ Cable, Amanda The Mail Online 'The choir that saved our lives: For its 8,000 members, Rock Choir is about more than just singing' 10 June 2011
  12. ^ Rudd, Lewis Reading Post 'Wokingham Rock Choir Are The Ultimate In Feel-Good Music' 30 June 2010
  13. ^ Hope, Christopher and Singh, Anita The Telegraph 'Rock Choir: amateur singers land million pound record deal' 1 Feb 2010
  14. ^ BBC London News 1 July 2010
  15. ^ Reynolds, Stefan (ed.) Round & About Magazine 'The Remarkable Journey of Rock Choir' November 2010
  16. ^ Critcher, Paul 'For Those About to Rock', Be Happy Magazine March 2012
  17. ^ Missing People official website 'Rock Choir Join Search For Missing Children At Wembley' accessed 19 July 2012
  18. ^ Unk. Chelmsford Weekly News 'Flash Mob Targets Lakeside' 29 March 2012
  19. ^ Reeves, Lisa Alderleyedge.com 'Record Breaking Choir Comes To Alderley Edge' 23 June 2010
  20. ^ Official Rock Choir website accessed 19 July 2012
  21. ^ Official Rock Choir website accessed 8 January 2013

External links[edit]