Lewisham And Greenwich NHS Choir
The choirmaster and broadcaster Gareth Malone was responsible for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir's creation, after they featured in his 2012 BBC series The Choir: Sing While You Work, a spin-off of the original format of The Choir. Based around the idea of creating workplace choirs that would practice together and eventually compete against others, the NHS choir would eventually lose out to a choir from Severn Trent Water after a closely fought final.
The choir itself was made up of a range of NHS professionals, from doctors and nurses to porters and administration staff. After their defeat in the television show's final, the 30-strong choir continued to perform regularly for patients and hospital staff, as well as at concerts in the local community and further afield. They recorded a single, "A Bridge Over You," which beat the likes of Adele and Justin Bieber to the U.K. Christmas number one spot in 2015. The song was a mash-up of the Simon & Garfunkel classic "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Coldplay's "Fix You," and all the proceeds from its sale went to charity. At the time, the deeply unpopular new contract being forced upon the NHS' junior doctors forced the British Medical Association to recommend industrial action, and the popularity of the choir's single did a lot to promote the cause of a much-maligned National Health Service under pressure from the government. Perhaps as a reaction to the huge public support for the choir and the NHS in general, the government announced that the value-added tax from the sales of the single would also go to charity. In an admirable show of solidarity, Justin Bieber lent his support to the choir's single, urging his fans via Twitter to help it reach number one, despite his own single "Love Yourself" being in direct competition for the coveted position.
2016 saw the release of their first full-length album, the proceeds of which would again go to charity. Taking its title and lead single from Labi Siffre's 1987 hit "(Something Inside) So Strong," the album featured covers of popular favorites such as Carole King's "You've Got a Friend," Bill Withers' "Lean on Me," and Sting's "Fields of Gold," also famously covered by Eva Cassidy. ~ Simon Spreyer