The Big Issue Night Walk Performance
On Friday 3 March London City Voices (LCV) were asked to perform at St John’s church in Waterloo for the participants of the annual Big Issue Night Walk. We sang there last year and were asked back because, as the organiser Stephen Roberts explained “the Night Walk is a sociable event so it’s fantastic to have LCV warm up the walkers. It gets everyone in the mood.”
This annual activity raises funds for the Big Issue magazine, which helps the homeless by giving them a chance to make a living by selling the weekly magazine instead of relying on begging. The idea of the night walk came about, explained Stephen, because it is often the thing that homeless people are forced to do when darkness falls. “It can be too dangerous to sleep in the streets at night, so if you have nowhere safe to go you just have to keep walking” It’s a sad and lonely way to spend the night and not conducive to finding work if you are then forced to catch up with sleep during the day-time. And as homelessness is on currently on the rise, it’s an increasingly common situation, making fund-raising events such as the one LCV supported more crucial.
Not that members of the choir needed much persuasion to come out and sing. “I was really impressed and delighted by the awesome turnout, and so grateful,” said Stephen. “I was expecting around 30 of you but there was closer to 50. It was fantastic to have such a strong choir sing for us”. For LCV, it was an opportunity to sing in a beautiful setting for a worthy cause, and also to try out some of our new repertoire. We sang old favourites, including ‘ ‘The Boxer’, which seemed appropriate as it’s a song about being lonely in a big city, away from your home and family. We also sang publicly for the first time many of the songs that will be featured at the spring concert. I stepped into the audience a couple of times to take photographs and I can tell you that these songs sounded darned good! Without giving anything away, the final song sounded so powerful that I got goose-pimples. I came away thinking that if 50 people singing it can sound so good there aren’t going to be any dry eyes when we sing it at the Troxy!
After the performance, the choir retired to a local pub for drinks. I stuck around as I wanted to meet the event’s VIP guest – Bob the cat. As the subject of several books and, more recently, a feature film, Bob is one very special cat who has positively changed the life of his ‘owner’ (I use the term loosely as it was Bob who adopted him) former Big Issue seller, James. I was fortunate enough to not only photograph Bob but also to have a brief chat with him. I asked him what he thought of LCV’s performance, to which he replied “I was delighted to see them back here and, yet again, I thought they were very impressive. I was sad that they didn’t play ‘Black Velvet’ as I was going to dedicate it to a friend of mine who has a lovely black velvet coat, but Fields of Athenry made up for it as that reminds me of my Irish roots. In fact I suspect I may be a distant relative of the conductors, especially the young ‘tom’ who conducted Ghost Town. His impressive ginger mane showed a striking resemblance to the coat of some of my ancestors.”
So well done everyone, you entertained Bob the cat and helped to raise a few bob for a good cause in the process.
You can find out more information about the Big Issue Foundation here and make a donation if you wish.