Watch: York’s Big Ian to lead a Christmas singalong beamed into care homes across the world
York musician Ian Donaghy is leading an online Christmas singalong for people living and working in social care.
The video will be enjoyed in care homes, hospitals, hospices, and people’s own homes today (20 December) to help tackle loneliness among vulnerable people which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ‘play as live’ event is returning for a second year, and is spearheaded by Big Ian, lead singer of York party band huge and a well-known advocate for the social care sector whose books include Dear Dementia, A Pocketful of Kindness and The Missing Peace.
Ian teamed up with everyLIFE Technologies, a digital platform for care settings, to put on the inaugural Christmas Singalong when lockdown returned last year.
It was a resounding success, and so the partnership is back for 2021.
Last year’s event was watched by thousands of people who live and work in the social care sector, with viewers coming from the UK and further afield in Australia, New Zealand and even Venezuela.
The online concert was described as “funny, heart-warming and heart-breaking in equal measure”.
Recorded in a storm
This year’s online singalong will be bigger and bolder.
Many of the performances were recorded in a purpose-made barn studio at York Maze during Storm Arwen.
Recalling the recording sessions, Ian said: “it was freezing, snowing outside and we were unsure if the roof was going to hold out, but sometimes adversity brings us even closer together.”
How to watch
The singalong will be available to watch on-demand here from 3pm and available all over the Christmas period
The free-to-watch concert will feature care home residents and team members performing their favourite Christmas songs and wishing festive cheer to all, across the country.
Viewers will also hear a brass performance of In the Bleak Midwinter, arranged and performed by one of the UK’s most recorded musicians, Johnny Thirkell. Johnny has previously recorded with the likes of Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Phil Collins and Bruno Mars.
The show also features York favourites Jess Steel, Graham Hodge, harpist Sarah Dean and The Grand Old Uke of York as well as Teesside’s outstanding soprano Samantha Holden.
Big Ian said: “We were determined to recreate the magic of last year’s singalong after seeing the beautiful response it generated. It proved to be more than an online concert: it was an opportunity for people across the entire care sector to come together and share their personal memories and love of Christmas.
“I’m incredibly excited for the release of this year’s video, which promises to once again galvanise all those who live and work in social care. Expect the unexpected. You will laugh, and you may cry, as people share their stories.”