Musicians all over the country, professional and amateur alike, are missing making music together during the pandemic, but the restrictions on performing together as a group did not stop one group of local singers, including four members of staff from Bedford School, from getting together, albeit virtually, and singing their hearts out whilst entertaining people online and raising the grand sum of £2,500 for the Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends.

The quintet of friends, sopranos Eve McGrath (part-time invigilator at Bedford School) and Lottie Greenhow (one of our singing teachers, currently on maternity leave), alto Sally McGrath, tenor Harry Bagnall (who conducts the Eagle Choir) and bass Henry Vann (History Teacher), who all live in Bedford and are active on the local music scene, would often have dinner together and regularly ended up singing for pleasure afterwards. From these beginnings, the group The Goldentones were founded in 2017.

When the country went into lockdown in March last year, the five singers were keen to continue making music. “We really missed singing together, but it’s been a really fun challenge adapting to making music online and learning to use the technology, which was new to us,” said first soprano Eve. It was during this first lockdown that their video of the song Somewhere Over the Rainbow raised over £500 for Bedford Hospital, and it was this that gave the singers the idea to do a Christmas charity fundraiser. “We wanted to do something that would not only cheer people up in the run-up to Christmas but also raise some more money to help the hospital through the second wave”, said alto Sally.

In December, the quintet produced an ‘Advent Caroldar’, releasing a festive tune online every day from the very start of the month until Christmas Day. They even went two steps further (much like the protagonist in their choice of carol that day) releasing a bonus Boxing Day track, Good King Wenceslas, as well as an Auld Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve.

The choice of charity to support was an easy decision to make, as Henry Vann, the group’s bass, told us: “Bedford Hospital is really important to us – the two couples of the group recently had babies there, and during this pandemic time the local NHS needs as much support as possible”.

You can enjoy all of their videos here.

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