Neston Singers Fly High With Virgin Atlantic's Little Red - Video Now Added!
|Published: 22nd December 2013 08:26|
Neston's Hip & Harmony community choir was hand-picked by Virgin Atlantic to surprise travellers on all Little Red routes over the weekend of December 13 and 14.
Virgin Atlantic Little Red LIVE launched in August when flights between Heathrow and Edinburgh during the Fringe Festival were enhanced by live stand-up performances by comedians Joe Lycett and Lee Nelson. Now, it was the turn of Hip & Harmony to surprise flyers from London to Manchester, Aberdeen and Edinburgh with a very Christmassy welcome.
Passengers were treated to renditions of Christmas classics including Winter Wonderland and White Christmas from the 11 person strong choir, complete with a beat boxing Santa Claus on board - in keeping with the Virgin Atlantic's rock and roll spirit!
A short video can be viewed below (if using a mobile device, you will need to click here to see it):
The choir was chosen by Virgin Atlantic as the airline was keen to offer the gig to a community based choir who would really benefit from the experience. The donation provided by Virgin Atlantic for the activity is enabling Hip & Harmony to set up a Youth Choir in 2014.
Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Atlantic founder and president said: "We launched Virgin Atlantic Little Red this year to shake up domestic flying in the UK. Our beat box Santa and festive choir is another example of our unrivalled customer service. In true Virgin Atlantic spirit we did something a little different by providing our passengers with some additional festive cheer and fun while they fly!"
Ten singers from the 40-strong choir were involved, along with beat-boxer Chris Maylor. Led by Paula Prytherch, Artistic Director for Hip & Harmony CIC, the members who took part were Ann and Jenna Samuel, Lynn Clare, Heather Blythyn, Becky Gorman, Carrie Spacey, Chris Lett, Janet Pollock and Zaria Shreef.
All of them were asked for their favourite moments and memories of this very special trip:
Paula: "This has been a fantastic opportunity for Hip & Harmony CIC. Our aim is to bring contemporary arts projects to communities and by working with Virgin Atlantic Little Red, we've been able to offer our choir members a once in a lifetime opportunity. The response from passengers and Virgin staff was amazing, seeing their faces light up with pleasure was priceless! What a fantastic idea."
Carrie: "The whole trip has been truly amazing. I loved getting high-fived by one passenger as he went past us on the way off the plane and it was brilliant to see all the messages of support from everyone back in Neston."
Chris (Lett): "It was a totally overwhelming experience for me - what a lovely way to spend my birthday!"
Lynn: "The look on passengers' faces as they boarded and left the aircraft is something I will never forget. What an experience!"
Ann: "The Christmas spirit spread with crew and passengers joining in - an amazing experience."
Janet: "Passengers dancing towards us as they exited down the aisle and the cabin crew supporting us, clapping along to the music. What a blast this trip has been!"
Zaria: "What a coup for the Hip & Harmony choir! It got everyone in the festive spirit - thank you Paula for being an amazing choir-master and giving us this unforgettable experience."
Heather: "I've never felt so high on happiness as on this trip - on cloud 9, literally!"
Jenna: "It's been awesome to see so many people smiling and dancing on and off the planes. One of the cabin crew was so excited to see us that she actually ran on to the plane!"
Becky: "One passenger called out 'I want some of what you guys are on' - I replied: 'Christmas spirit!' It was just brilliant to spread Christmas cheer. I've never had an experience like this in my life, and I can't imagine anything coming close!"
Chris (Maylor): "If someone had told me a fortnight ago that I would be beatboxing on a plane, dressed as Santa, I would have told them to eat my furry red hat. This has been one of the best weekends of my life and it's awesome to be surrounded by such a great level of talent - Hip & Harmony choir, you rock!"
The Trip - Carrie's blog
The call came in about two weeks ago - would Hip & Harmony choir like to sing carols on some flights for Virgin's Little Red LIVE? All expenses paid and we'll even give you some money to help set up your youth choir. First response...What???? Then...OK!!!!
Rapidly, our inspirational leader Paula gathered a group of singers from the choir who could make themselves available for non-stop rehearsals on the run-up and for the two days of the trip. Rehearsals were hard work but great fun - the fun factor being central to everything this choir does.
Fast forward to Friday the 13th...mmm, an auspicious date? Well, it was Chris' birthday, so it can't be a bad thing! Most of us were up by 3.30am to get ready and travel to Paula's for our 5am taxis to Manchester airport. A quick pose at the check-in desk so that I could send a photo back to AMA Towers ready to announce what we were up to (we had hinted something exciting was happening, but were asked not to reveal all until after the first performance, to keep the surprise up for the passengers.) Then, onto the first flight, to Heathrow. We were not officially performing on this one, but had a little warm-up in our seats, prompting some turning of heads and lots of smiles appearing on faces!
We were met by Virgin Atlantic's PR team, who looked after us brilliantly throughout the trip, and ushered through to the gate for the flight to Aberdeen - our first official 'gig'. We assembled in the first few rows of the Little Red aircraft and, just as the passengers made their way down the tunnel, we kicked off with 'Winter Wonderland,' followed by 'Silent Night,' 'Carol of the Bells' and 'White Christmas.' It was heartwarming to see the smiles on peoples faces. No 'bah humbugs' - everyone seemed genuinely suprised and happy to see us.
From then on it was a whirlwind of boarding, singing, disembarking, boarding again, singing again....you get the picture! Each take-off marked by a 'Neston Wave.'
We travelled from Aberdeen back to London on Friday. Then, after a stop-over at a hotel near Heathrow, on Saturday we sang on the flights to and from Edinburgh before our final flight home to Manchester. The cabin crew were all so lovely - really warm and welcoming and good fun, too. The banter with passengers was great - especially on the last flight when we took a couple of requests, including Chris' favourite song - 'Three Little Birds.'
Throughout the trip we were tweeting, facebooking, posting on AboutMyArea and sending and receiving texts from friends and family. It was brilliant to see how much support we were receiving from people back in Neston and around the country too.
We arrived back in Manchester at around 7pm on Saturday - all absolutely exhausted, but sky high with happiness. It had been a unique and fabulous experience for us all, one we will never forget. We are all so proud to have represented Neston in the skies!
You can see more here:
Hip & Harmony CIC's Instagram feed: