Major Christmas carols event made in Shrewsbury is back - 'supercharged'

A major Christmas carols event born in Shropshire will bring joy to the world this festive season - with choirs at Trafalgar Square, Great Ormond Street Hospital and Canterbury Cathedral taking part.

The Watton family singing Christmas carols: Sarah, Amy,  Rebecca and Mike
The Watton family singing Christmas carols: Sarah, Amy, Rebecca and Mike

Doorstep Carols was launched in Shrewsbury last year after the annual Carols in the Square had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With songs being broadcast on over 30 local radio stations, it led to wonderful scenes of families singing on doorsteps, sharing mulled wine over the fence with neighbours and children playing instruments in front gardens. An estimated 125,000 people took part, raising over £10,000 for MIND UK and local charities, with collections at street level.

This year, Doorstep Carols 2021 is a "supercharged" nationwide event on Wednesday, December 15 at 6pm, taking all of the street magic of last year across the country whilst also reaching out to those who are isolated.

BBC local radio stations and BBC Sounds will again broadcast the pre-recorded backing tracks to well-known carols and Christmas songs so that the nation can sing in unison.

A host of national organisations and celebrities are jumping on board as this event grows, supporting the British public in what is expected to become a record breaking singalong.

Organiser Katy Rink said: “We’re absolutely delighted that BBC local radio stations are on board again this year so that people will be able to tune in to local radio wherever they are in the country. It’s about celebrating the joy of singing together – and sharing the experience. It’s as simple as that!”

“This Christmas, we hope to see more of a street party festival atmosphere, with neighbours able to celebrate and sing together,” says co-organiser Beth Heath.  “If Covid restrictions allow it, people can really go to town this year decorating their streets with fairy lights, lighting firepits in the garden or singing in community halls and village greens.”

The message behind the magic is a serious one following restrictions on collective music and performance. Doorstep Carols 2021 aims to remind the nation of the social and psychological benefits of singing together.

Lyricist Sir Tim Rice, most well-known for his collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, threw his support behind the project. He said: "I hope that singing en masse will remind us that music, especially vocals, can bring everyone together whether in unison or harmony. We must not let recent troubles make us fearful of using our voices.”

The event is aimed at bringing people together to sing in their communities, as well as provide a musical connection for people who are isolated. Children in hospital will sing from the wards knowing that they are singing with their loved ones.  Care home providers across the UK are working to engage hundreds of care homes enabling elderly residents to sing.

Charities which will benefit include Youth Music, Dementia UK, Demelza Children’s Hospice, MindUK, Spread a Smile, Ex Cathedra and others.

Visit doorstepcarols.co.uk to find out how to tune in, download the words and music and sing along.

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