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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Turning a negative into a positive with Manchester Virtual Youth Choir

Turning a negative into a positive - ‘These Days’ – Performed [in isolation] by Manchester Virtual Youth Choir

Phil Reynolds, Manchester based musician, music director, vocal coach, and teacher just over a month into the lockdown decided to try to bring together as many of his vocal students as possible to help give them a focus at a difficult and stressful time.

In Phil’s words, ‘Many young people have struggled with mental health and anxiety in isolation.’

For some time, he had been asked to try and create a youth choir and hadn’t had the time or venue to do it. He had often wondered how it would sound if he put all his students in one room and gave them harmonies to sing. Phil has turned a dark negative into a brilliant positive by doing exactly that in a virtual setting.

'These Days', originally by Rudimental featuring Jess Glynne and Macklemore, is fittingly a song about friendship and memories.

The Manchester Virtual Youth Choir’s wonderful performance was recorded on phones and tablets by the young people themselves.

28 students from across Greater Manchester, plus Phil’s niece from Lyon, France, sang this three-part harmony with live drums by 13 years old Scott Heap and an original rap to thank our NHS and keyworkers and comment on these extraordinary times [courtesy of Emily Moran and Lily Kenny].

The song was recorded with no major editing, EQing or autotuning trickery, just a basic Garageband mix. The video was created and edited by 17 years old piano student Sam Townsend.

This inspiring, life affirming video puts me in full agreement with Phil when he says, ‘….in my opinion the results are extraordinary [I knew it would sound good but had no idea it would sound like this!]’

The wonderful, multitalented Sue Devaney introduces the performance with a heartfelt endorsement, ‘in these times it is nothing short of inspiring, I hope you enjoy it I know I did, these are our future star’s’.

They have dedicated These Days to everyone struggling from anxiety, depression, and poor mental health with a thankyou to our tireless NHS staff and all the keyworkers who have kept us going throughout.

I can think of no better or more fitting dedication!

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