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Big Big Sing

Stephen Deazley, Presenter, Big Big Sing

Blog / Culture
People take singing very seriously indeed, devoting many, many hours of their week to the encouragement, organisation and enjoyment of community singing projects up and down the land.

They are from all walks of life, in church halls and community spaces, in hospitals and schools, onstage and off, through megaphones, acapella, outside and inside, pretty much everywhere and mostly because they just LOVE it!

In the past three months Big Big Sing has exploded onto the UK community singing scene, sparked by the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and fuelled by the rich and varied singing traditions from across the world.  The project is bringing 1000's of people together, literally, in a celebration of the thing they LOVE – to sing with others.

Big Big SingI have been engaged as curator of the Big Big Commonwealth Songbook since autumn 2013, and I’m also one of the people lucky enough to lead some of the extraordinary massed-voice singing events - sometimes up to 1,000 voices in one place. The Songbook is unique – songs from across the Commonwealth that are varied (deliberately), that offer new styles of singing and in many languages, which have been specially arranged to allow the greatest possible number of singing groups and choirs to get stuck in and have a go.

Launching the material on our first lot of adventurous Big Big Singers in Dundee was a truly nerve-wracking experience, but the joy and spirit of adventure that we had hoped to support and encourage came back at us at full volume, and with such great humour that we were overwhelmed – and we have been many times since.

We didn’t, for example, ever imagine we might get a whoop for this call out to 1000 singers at the Usher Hall…  “Okay – this is our fourth song of the day in our fourth language – we’ll be singing a song from the Polynesian Islands, and its in Samoan”!

We are now three months in, and it is already extremely difficult to catalogue the many, many moments of genuine delight and laughter, in getting it wrong and in getting it right; dancing in the aisles and on the stage; and being lifted and carried along by an extraordinary collective energy of hundreds of voices.  There is so much more to come that will be new, challenging, pulse-racing and unparalleled in ambition – plans to bring 10,000 singers together in Glasgow on the 27th July for the BIG Big Big SIng for example!!!

I can honestly say that these hours spent with ordinary folk in a celebration of song, have been some of the most professionally rewarding hours I can remember.  Go on Big Big Sing – let’s see how Big Big you can be!

Big Big Sing website

Big Big Sing is part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme