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1,000 Southend youngsters rehearse anthem for torch visit
2:30pm Thursday 5th July 2012 in Echo News
VOICES filled Roots Hall as schoolchildren belted out the anthem which will greet torchbearers when the Olympic flame arrives in Southend on Friday.
More than 1,000 pupils rehearsed at Southend United’s ground yesterday as final preparations for the event get under way.
Children aged from six will join adults in a 1,723-strong choir, put together by Chalkwell Avenue-based arts group Metal, to sing on the seven-tier stage at City Beach.
The song, called Anthem: Let Your Light Shine, was composed by Tolga Kashif, who helped put together the Perfect Day song for BBC’s Children in Need campaign in 1997.
For the final preparations, the children sang while conductors put them through their paces.
One, Rosemary Pennington said: “It is a fantastically exciting piece of music. It has something for everyone, stirring melodies, exciting rhythms, even raps. I think on Friday the whole choir will rise to the occasion.”
Matthew Gunn, 11, one of the singers and a pupil of Leigh North Street Junior School, said: “It is so exciting to be part of the choir with all the other schools. It is a cool idea. I am looking forward to it.”
Classmate Louis Douglas, also 11, said: “The good thing is there is a mixture of languages and cultures all coming together from other schools.’’ A giant TV screen will be put up in Western Esplanade will give residents and visitors who cannot get to Marine Parade the chance to see the performance.
The choir is due to perform at about 11.40am as the torch reaches the seafront. Composer Tolga Kashif said he was surprised the choir had come this far. He added: “When I was told about the project, I thought it was pretty bananas.
“I am delighted, though, to have had the opportunity to be part of this special moment. “I hope everybody involved will see this as one of those events where different communities come together to celebrate.”