From Bros and the Beach Boys to Barnsley

The spirit, strength and talent of Barnsley are clearly embodied to me in the achievements of the Barnsley Youth Choir.

It brings together 200 young people, aged between 8 and 18 years old, from a variety of backgrounds, with different talents, musical tastes and aspirations – uniting them seamlessly in one inspirational, beautiful and melodic voice. The creativity and commitment of those involved is something for us all to be proud of.

That’s why I was keen to use my previous appointment, as Shadow Culture Minister responsible for the creative industries, to put them in touch with a world renowned music producer. Simon Humphrey has worked with many famous artists during his career – from the Clash and the Beach Boys, to Culture Club, Bros and Michael Crawford. He even made the Birdie Song!

The many people responsible for making the choir a success used this opportunity to get several tracks recorded. It gave the children the opportunity to experience the professional recording process for themselves, giving them a taste of an industry they may one day wish to join.

The end result is their fantastic Christmas single which was launched this week. The double A-side features the songs, ‘Winter Wonderland’ and ‘O Holy Night’. It costs just £2, with all profits going directly to Barnsley Hospice. Many local people and businesses have pulled together to make this happen, resulting in an impressive £1.50 of every CD sold going direct to the Hospice!

It’s great, when many are ready to knock our town, that we showcase our local talent and help raise money for a cause which benefits our community.

I urge you to go out and buy the single – both for those you know in Barnsley but also to spread the word to people elsewhere. Let’s show the world the Barnsley we are proud of.

For details go to: www.barnsleyyouthchoir.org

This article was first published in the Barnsley Independent on 20th November 2013.