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Choristers sing on prog rock Christmas single

Our renowned choristers are taking a new musical direction this Christmas, featuring as guest singers on seasonal single “Merry Christmas” by award-winning prog rock band Big Big Train - and you can watch the video from today.

A recording and filming session was held with the choristers earlier this year in our Chapel, which dates from 1157 and is the oldest College chapel in Cambridge. The video also features Mark Benton, who stars alongside Paddington Bear in this year's Marks & Spencer Christmas commercial.

The boy choristers, aged from nine to 13 years old, chime in halfway through the song, singing the refrain “Light to the world, love in our hearts” as the song questions the commercialism of Christmas and disconnect between people leading ever-busier daily lives.

Richard Pinel, Director of Music at Jesus College, said: “Working with a prog rock band was a new departure for our choristers, and the process was lots of fun. Although we spend most of our time with traditional choral music, many of the musical skills that our choristers develop are transferable to other genres of music. The boys all think that they are rock stars now!”

Geoff Parks, Senior Tutor at Jesus College, said: “I am a longstanding fan of Big Big Train and over the years have become friends with members of the band. A few years ago I suggested to them that, if they were ever thinking of working with a choir, I knew where to find a good one. You can imagine my delight when the band contacted me earlier this year to take up this offer. To see my favourite band collaborating with my College's choir is a dream come true."

Big Big Train lead vocalist David Longdon said: “Merry Christmas is a song about rediscovering our childlike belief in the magic of Christmas, despite living in an over-commercial and cynical world. The choristers’ singing fits beautifully with the message of the song, and the boys were consummate professionals.”

A donation to the Night Stop homelessness charity will be made for every copy of the vinyl, CD, and download sold.

The single will be officially released on 8th December on 7 inch snow white vinyl with a gatefold cover, digipack CD and will also be available for download and streaming. Pre-orders can be placed via the Big Big Train website and copies will also be stocked by Fopp on Sidney Street, Cambridge. 

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