Have you ever imagined what it might be like to stand in an empty shopping centre and just sing? No? I’m sure most of the St Peter’s Singers hadn’t either before the ‘One Equal Music’ project was born but my goodness I’m glad we did!
The Victoria Quarter is a cathedral to the shopaholics of Leeds but for a few magical nights over the summer of 2014 you could have mistaken it for the other type, if it wasn’t for the Jimmy Choo and Paul Smith wearing mannequins who made up our congregation.
One Equal Music was an absolute privilege to be part of. It felt remarkable from the very beginning. The opening bars of Edward Bairstow’s ‘Let all mortal flesh keep silence’ helping us all realise just how magnificent the acoustic was going to be. Over those few nights we recorded some extraordinary choral music. The whole choir and team recorded late into the night to ensure the very best sound quality. There was something very magical about having the whole of the Victoria Quarter empty of people and filled with 8 part harmonies. The hum of the Leeds traffic faded away – with only the occasional delivery lorry disturbing us! We all stayed until the job was done and I believe that’s because the whole team knew we were creating something magnificent.
The programme of music that we recorded included pieces that were previously unknown to me and I’m delighted that we’re able to share them with so many people through this project. There is a soul-soaring quality about this music and I’m thrilled that everyone now has access to it – whether you’ve ever stepped into a cathedral or Harvey Nichol’s espresso bar on a Sunday morning.
To all the people of Briggate who stopped outside the glass façade of the VQ and listened to us record through the glass – I thank you for your applause. To the security guards of the VQ – I hope you enjoyed the most remarkable of private concerts. Most importantly though to the people who are thinking of generously buying our music – I hope you love listening to it as much as we loved making it.
Nikki Roach – Soprano – St Peter’s Singers of Leeds.