Leicester's First Ever Community Choir Challenge Raises The Roof For Hope

The first ever concert featuring community choirs from all over Leicestershire has raised in excess of a staggering £8k for the county’s own cancer research charity, HOPE Against Cancer, following a fundraising evening of music, joy and laughter at St James the Greater, London Road, Leicester.

We Sing for Hope, the brainchild of musician and choir leader Helen Alloway, brought together eight community choirs, featuring a total of 220 singers, from Rutland, Melton Mowbray, Burton Overy, Foxton, Blaby, Kibworth, Humberstone and Dunton Bassett to perform to a packed house of over 500 people last Saturday evening (15th November 2014).

Helen, who leads a community choir in the village of Burton Overy, south Leicestershire, came up with the ambitious concept in March, inspired by the idea that it would be fabulous to bring all these small community choirs together, to share their enthusiasm for singing at one major venue. It seemed to follow naturally that it became a fundraiser and what better charity than Leicestershire and Rutland’s very own HOPE Against Cancer. A long-time supporter of HOPE Against Cancer, if Helen was going to do anything, she wanted it to benefit this particular charity, so when she contacted the nationally-renowned choral master and adjudicator Ken Burton and he agreed to join the judging panel of Dr David Whittle, Dave Andrews from BBC Radio Leicester and music enthusiast Barry Starbuck, she knew she would have to work hard to bring her dream to fruition.

“Ken agreeing to be involved really galvanised me into action, calling upon family and friends to support the event. When James Sellicks, managing director of the Leicestershire estate agents of the same name agreed to be our main sponsor, I was thrilled. It meant we had the wherewithal to, not only put on a great concert, but raise some serious funds for a charity that affects all our lives.” Helen explained.

The ‘We Sing for Hope’ Community Choir Challenge, starred The Dunton Bassett Community Singers, The Vale Choir, Foxton and Gartree Community Choir, The Spectaculars, Kibworth Ladies’ Choir, Humberstone Choral Society, Global Harmony and The Willow Singers, performing a wide and varied programme, featuring music from Sibelius through to Paul Simon and Radio Head. In a close run, entertaining and, at times moving, competition, the winners were Kibworth Ladies’ Choir, whose stunning performance was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.
Delighted with what was a hugely successful debut event, Helen commented:
“Having conducted a workshop earlier that day, Ken Burton then led the finale featuring all the choirs in a rendition of How Can I Keep From Singing, demonstrating beautifully what the whole event encapsulated, local people singing together for the sheer joy of it. It was a fabulous occasion and well worth all the hard work. I would like to thank everyone who performed, attended and supported us, we couldn’t have done it without you.”