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WATCH: Sir Elton stuns Telford pupils as he tells them he 'loves' their cover of classic track

By Dominic Robertson | Telford | Music | Published:

Music legend Sir Elton John has given his personal seal of approval to a cover of his classic track 'I'm Still Standing', by pupils and their music teacher.

Sir Elton John in his video message to teacher Ben Millington and his talented pupils

The multi-million selling rock and roll star stunned students at Telford's Priory School with a personal video message telling how he was "blown away" by their version of the hit song and "absolutely loved it".

He has also promised to welcome the pupils to one of his gigs when he performs in the country after the coronavirus crisis is over.

Watch Sir Elton's message to the pupils:

The pupils had been led in creating the song by their teacher Ben Millington, and produced a rip-roaring rendition of the track with each playing their part via Zoom – with the recording taking place while the school has been shut due to coronavirus restrictions.

In a video posted on Ben's Facebook page he explained how the rock legend had got in touch, and then showed the video from Sir Elton, alongside the reaction of the pupils.

He said: "I just wanted to share this massive, massive bit of news with you – you may see the smirk on my face and you will understand as I explain.

"Last week I had an email from a gentleman called David Furnish – you may recognise the name – the subject title 'I'm Still Standing'.

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Watch the students' performance of I'm Still Standing:

"He says 'Dear Ben, I hope you do not mind me e-mailing you directly. Let me introduce myself, I am David Furnish, the manager and husband of Elton John. Elton recently saw your Zoom video that you produced with a group of students singing I'm Still Standing. He absolutely loved it and would like to know more about why it was created'.

"So I sent an e-mail back, explained what I have been doing, why – I have been doing it to cheer up some of the students after the coronavirus had hit, and Elton sent a video message for them."

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Covid-19 coverage:

Ben, head of Music at Telford Priory, said he had been "overwhelmed' at Sir Elton's response, and then showed the pupils reacting to the video message.

In it Sir Elton says: "Hi everyone, this is Elton.

"I had an email from a dear friend called Ron Sexsmith, who is a great singer songwriter from Canada, he sent me an e-mail and said you have got to look at this clip of these guys singing I'm Still standing.

"Well, I looked at the clip and I was completely blown away. In fact I watched it three times in a row because I could not believe how good you sang and played it. It is not an easy song to sing, and certainly not to play, so I just wanted to send you all my love and say, you know what, you really cheered me up and I know it has been a rotten time for you because everything has been cancelled because of coronavirus.

Music teacher Ben Millington

"But you know what, you did something brilliant and you made a brilliant version of I'm Still Standing and I want to thank you so much for it. I hope you all have a great career and music plays a big part in it because you have certainly got talent.

"And, I promise you when I come back to England after all this is over and actually play a gig you can all be guests at my show because I loved it so much.

"Ben you did a brilliant job, guys, thank you."

Ben said the message had been a huge boost to the pupils who have seen foreign concerts, a musical, and a host of other events cancelled due to Covid-19.

Legend

He said: "He is an absolute legend and the other thing is he has been consistent as well, he's not just a pop artist from back in the day, he's consistent every year. He is on Lady Gaga's latest album, last year he was on a world tour, he's planning to tour here when the pandemic is over. It is not just relate-able to my generation or my parents generation, it is relate-able to these students.

"They all know he is at the top of the tree and they were absolutely blown away by his message."

Stacey Jordan, Headteacher at The Telford Priory School spoke of her pride in Ben and the students.

She said: “We are all so excited that Sir Elton John has been in touch with our school. He is such an inspiration for our students and indeed the world. Ben is such a committed teacher helping to ensure that performing arts take a main role in our curriculum.

"I believe in the power of performance and opportunities and confidence this instils.

"When many schools have unfortunately had to reduce their musical and performance offer, we have over five clubs a week dedicated to music, drama and dance as well as an annual musical and trip abroad for the choir.

"I am so proud of Ben and the students; it is truly humbling that Sir Elton would notice our performances!”

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