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Poplar Singers make it to the Barbican with story of homeless man coming into the light

PUBLISHED: 16:14 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:31 27 February 2019

Poplar Singers take their place for Sky Arts 'Open Fest 50' project exploring

Poplar Singers take their place for Sky Arts 'Open Fest 50' project exploring "what it means to be British". Picture: Matt Buck

Matt Buck

Members of a "little East End choir" have taken the stage at The Barbican in a mass choral performance of 'When We Collide' songbook with choirs from all over the country.

Poplar Singers' musical director Alex Abbott on stage at The Barbican. Picture: Matt BuckPoplar Singers' musical director Alex Abbott on stage at The Barbican. Picture: Matt Buck

The Poplar Singers took part in the songbook collection that was commissioned for Sky Arts’ Open Fest 50’ project exploring “what it means to be British today”.

Lyricist Rebecca Hanbury ran workshops last summer, chairing discussions, using stories to create lyrics for songs with music composed by Alex Groves.

One song chosen for the collection, The Kettle’s On, used words by a member of Poplar Singers about a man offered a dilapidated flat after months of being on the streets who is mesmerised by light streaming in through the windows, with all the good things in his life spreading out from that moment.

“It was amazing for our little East End choir to be part of a national choral project,” Poplar Singers founder Hannah Douse said. “The choir had a real sense of community performing at such a prestigious venue, with choirs from all over the country.”

Poplar Community Singers ready to perform at The Barbican. Picture: Matt BuckPoplar Community Singers ready to perform at The Barbican. Picture: Matt Buck

Other coral groups all performing with the National Youth Orchestra included the Edinburgh Police Choir, Lisburn Harmony Ladies Choir from Northern Ireland, North Coast Harmony from Cornwall, a Northampton school choir and the Include Choir from Surrey which has members with disabilities.

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