Seventy-five members of an amateur choir from Solihull, including estate agents, cleaners, council workers, doctors, accountants, store managers, retirees, stay-at-home parents and many more, are preparing for a very unexpected and prestigious honour this Friday (17 April 2015): a special request to sing for the Lord Mayor of London at a banquet at Mansion House in the City of London.
Solihull Pop Chorus, which rehearses in Dickens Heath and Balsall Common, received the unusual request after singing at a local charity event last November. They were heard by Midlands’ businessman Tim Doyle, who runs Coventry-based Complete Washroom Solutions Ltd. During the banquet this Friday Tim will be installed as Master of one of the 42 ancient Livery Companies of the City Of London.
The banquet will be attended by not only the Lord Mayor of London, The Rt. Hon. Alan Yarrow, but also Lord and Lady Jones of Birmingham and 250 guests including the Sheriffs and other Masters of the London Livery Companies. The Livery Companies of the City of London comprise London’s ancient and modern trade associations and guilds, all representing their respective craft, trade or profession.
For many of the choir members this is their first time singing in public, let alone for such a prestigious engagement. Once the choir was invited, in January, arrangements for childcare and time off from work were quickly secured and a 25 minute-long medley of West End classics was arranged by choir director Anya Small. Anya set up Solihull Pop Chorus in 2013, in her spare time, whilst on sabbatical from her job with the West Midlands police forensic team following the birth of her son Henry.
Said Anya: “It was a complete surprise and huge honour to be invited to perform. I am very proud of the choir, none of them are professional singers – in fact many joined the choir having never sung before – and now they are confidently tackling songs from Les Miserables and Miss Saigon and sounding fantastic.
“I set up Pop Chorus to bring people together to have fun and make a wonderful sound and now we’re about to do just that in front of hundreds of people in Mansion House. We’re all really excited about the concert and intend to make Tim very proud to have chosen us.”
Tim specially requested that Solihull Pop Chorus be invited to perform having seen them sing at a Solihull fundraising event for Laura Fischer-Beards, the Berkswell mum who flew to the United States for life-extending surgery on a brain tumour in 2014. Says Tim: “They are best choir I have ever heard and the Mansion House, Egyptian Hall particularly, is where this sort of singing should be heard. They will also be the largest choir ever to perform in the Egyptian Hall, the current record being 40.”