Commoners Choir, Mark Thomas, Harmony Choir – The Wardrobe, Leeds – 16/02/20

To Celebrate the release of their new CD ‘Untied Kingdom’ The Commoners put on a gig at the Wardrobe at which there was printmaking by the wonderful Helen Peyton, free cake that several of the choir had lovingly made, support from Harmony Choir and a hilarious set by Mark Thomas.

Harmony Choir are based in Burmantofts in Leeds and proudly support refugees amongst their members. Singing a wide range of songs that included lovely African harmonies, they had us all singing about love and hope ( and there’s a snippet of them singing at the end of the new Commoners album).

Mark Thomas had us all laughing as he talked about some of the suggestions that got voted for in his ‘Manifesto’ series of gigs (2 goats on the floor of the house of commons at all times that must never be referred to… class A drugs for pensioners….) and noted that on virtually every occasion, someone would complain about the British National anthem. He contacted Boff Whalley to see if a new one could be made which started a looooong process of write and re-write as choir members argued the toss about the focus and direction of the song. Eventually ‘Not the National Anthem’ was completed and finishes the new album.

The CD is available in this lovely tied box with booklet badge and sticker… know you want one…….it has a thread theme of ‘Home’ running through it and the tunes are linked with snippets of foreign songs, sung by friends of the choir, who are UK residents but don’t originally come from here – what does ‘home’ look like to them? Here’s a little film by Phil and Carolyn that sets the scene.

Commoners Choir performed their album from start to finish with just one false start (those ‘grits’ at the beginning of ‘True North’ can be a bugger) and the addition of the Boris Johnson song after singing his old school song. Mark Thomas joined them for ‘Not the National Anthem’ before a rousing ‘Citizen Shanty’ ended the afternoon.

None of the pictures are mine so I hope Bruce Dalgliesh and Quynh Luong and anyone else I’ve inadvertantly pinched from don’t mind………(happy to take them down if you do)

Bob the Chiropodist

Oh, and Catherine from the Choir did this cryptic crossword for the event too…..

Oh, and there was another short feature before the main feature…..

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