Doorstep Carols is back this year – and with an ever-growing list of organisations jumping on board, it looks set to be Britain’s biggest ever carols singalong.
Carols on the doorstep brought people together in the midst of the pandemic last year. 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, taking all of the street magic of last year across the country whilst also reaching out to those who are isolated. Around 25 local BBC 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. Streets taking part are encouraged to use the opportunity to raise money for a charity of their choice.
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. Internationally renowned British conductor Suzi Digby and Sir Tim Rice are also backing the event.
The ‘epicentre’ event will be in Shrewsbury, where Doorstep Carols originated, with Carols in the Square hosted by BBC Radio Shropshire, linking with doorsteps and other hub events across the country.
In Birmingham, Ex Cathedra will be leading singing from the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, linking up with Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals and Ladywood community singing group is also joining in and there are plans for a giant singalong in Civic Square. Hoo Farm in Telford will even have its reindeers join in!
Trafalgar Square is booked for a massed Doorstep Carols singalong with Popchoir, and The Spread a Smile Choir, which is made up of patients, their siblings and friends, are set to sing outside Great Ormond Street Hospital. The Rhythm Studio and Project Get Singing are also engaging communities and choirs across London and beyond.
Canterbury and Winchester Cathedrals are also involved as well as churches, choirs, hospices, schools and care homes across the UK, and the Military Wives Choirs are linking with the military engagement branch to enable overseas soldiers to sing with their loved ones at home for the first time in history.
Shrewsbury resident and Doorstep Carols organiser Katy Rink said: “Last year we saw some wonderful scenes up and down the country, with people joining in on their doorsteps and having a good time with their neighbours.
“We’re delighted that local BBC radio stations are on board again this year so that people should be able to tune in wherever they are. It’s about celebrating the joy of singing together – sharing the experience and strengthening communities.
“The capacity for this event to glue communities together is exciting – It’s so simple and absolutely free.”
“This year will hopefully be more of a street party festival atmosphere, with neighbours able to celebrate and sing together,” says co-organiser Beth Heath.
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.
Adding his support Sir Tim Rice 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.”
Doorstep Carols is partnering with multiple charities that recognise the value of music in the work that they do. These include Youth Music, Dementia UK, Demelza Children’s Hospice, MindUK, Spread a Smile, Ex Cathedra and others.
Visit www.doorstepcarols.co.uk for more information and to find out how to tune in, download the words and music and sing along on Wednesday, December 15th at 6pm!