“I Miss You”, the Missing People Choir song

Missing People Choir

The story behind the Missing People Choir

The Missing People Choir formed in summer 2014 masterminded by Clare Cook from the Missing People charity and Jim.  Its mission was to bring together the families and loved ones of the missing as a choir, to start something new, to enjoy music and singing together, and thereby raise spirits, share stories, bring encouragement and hope to the group.

Soon afterwards an idea formed that the Missing People Choir should have its own song for their Christmas performance.

Peter Boxell, whose son Lee has been missing since 1988 wrote the lyrics to the song ‘I Miss You’ in tribute to his missing son. Jim, along with professional writer and arranger, Simon Rhodes, wrote the song in the studio here initially to perform at the Missing People Carol Service at St Martin-in-the-Field on December 8th 2014.

The performance

The choir had just six full rehearsals together with Jim before the concert, some of the singers had never sung in a choir before and for the majority, this would be their first ever public performance. Nevertheless they raised their game and got over their nerves to deliver an exceptional and moving performance on the night, which touched the hearts of many people there.

Here’s quite a highlight of my year. I worked with the Missing People Charity to create a choir made up of families who are suffering the loss of a loved one. Many of the members were singing for the first time in their lives and I’m very proud of their achievement. This was a powerful experience and has reached out to a lot of people.
I invite you to support the Missing People Charity by sharing this video with your friends but most importantly, your family.
“where words fail, music speaks”

 

Abbey Road 2013

Abbey Road Studios 20th-21st April 2013

photo-2It was a thrilling experience and lifetime achievement to record at Abbey Road over the weekend! I took five Rock Choir choirs into Studio 1 to cut their own unique version of “True Colours”. Over 600 singers came through one of the best recording studios in the world and to top it off, we hired the legendary Simon Rhodes as our chief engineer for the weekend.

I learned a great deal from working with Simon and gained such valuable experience from going through this type of recording process. It was intense and exhausting from the nerves and adrenaline, but I loved every second of it and felt completely “at home” by the end of the two sessions. I need to go back!

The Rock Choir choirs are made up of amateur singers with no musical background or training. Singers are not auditioned and attend simply for the joy of singing together. It doesn’t matter that not many have a musical background and don’t read music “dots” because everything is taught and learned by ear – very good training, and in someways, one of the best musical skills to develop in my opinion!

Abbey Road Kingston Rock Choir
Kingston Upon Thames Rock Choir create their Abbey Road moment!

The whole preparation and rehearsal process was deliberately creative with a close eye on detail. I put the choirs through their paces for 10 weeks, they were walking around in circles waving their arms, moving expressively, I had them singing from phonetic lyric sheets, singing in darkness, drawing the melodic and dynamic shapes, learning each other’s harmony part, drilling and drilling the structure of the song and finally connecting with the lyrics to draw out the emotional content. We studied and worked out this song like a Rubix cube puzzle and everything aligned perfectly on the big weekend! Simon actually commented on how well-rehearsed the choirs were and even went so far as to say they sounded professional! High praise and well deserved, we worked very hard for it! I’m a very proud choir leader!

Jim gives instruction amongst some of the 21 mic stands needed on the day
Jim gives instruction amongst some of the 21 mic stands needed on the day

We made five different and compelling versions of True Colours recorded and mixed in Abbey Road Studio 1. [Editor Note, May 2015: unfortunately, Rock Choir has asked us to remove these recordings from the James Hawkins Music site and Soundcloud account now that Jim is no longer a contractor for the company. We suggest, if you are looking to hear these beautiful tracks again, that you contact the Rock Choir office directly, as we passed all the recordings into their hands for their archive. Sorry to disappoint you.]

P.S. Sunday was a bit more of a family occasion as Baby Daniel and Mum joined us for some recordings…