2016 BBC Rugby League Challenge Fans Choir
BBC’s Songs of Praise searched for supporters to sing in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans’ Choir at Wembley.
A 32-strong choir was selected from supporters representing clubs in this season’s Challenge Cup to sing ‘Abide With Me’ before the final on 27 August 2016.
The judging panel included Songs of Praise presenter Aled Jones and Leeds Rhinos player James Jones-Buchanan.
West End star Connie Fisher and Lizzie Jones – who sang before 2015 final in memory of husband Danny Jones – were also on the panel.
Songs of Praise producer Matthew Napier and the SOP team invited the fans to submit uplifting and unusual stories about supporting their Club and why they think they deserved a place representing their team in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans’ Choir. Many amazing stories were submitted.
Beracah Music (Steve Thompson) were commissioned and invited to spend a half day rehearsing and conducting the choir at the finals on the hallowed Wembley grounds.
Velveta & Steve had the privilege of working with the 2016 Rugby League Choir, rehearsing, taking pictures, coaching and generally getting them ready to perform ‘Abide with Me’ just before the Rugby league finals between Hull FC and Warrington Wolves.
The rehearsal started with lunch at 12.30 and straight into vocal warm-up and rehearsal from 1.30pm. From the very first note sung by the choir, Steve noted, ‘It looks like the rehearsals will not be long at all, you sound great …’
After several run-throughs, the choir then took to the pitch to soundcheck all the microphones and get a feel for how it would feel singing on the pitch accompanied by a Brass Band.
By the time the choir was introduced by the game’s announcer, they were ready to perform and did so with confidence and much emotion.