Britain's Biggest Hymns Big Sing Songs of Praise


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Britain's Biggest Hymns Big Sing

Tenor Alfie Boe and gospel star Jaz Ellington perform hymns and songs with choirs and 5,000 singers at the Royal Albert Hall.


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This week, we've packed London's most famous concert hall

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to sing some of the biggest hymns ever written.

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They'll make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

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We're joined by superstar tenor, Alfie Boe

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and Jaz Ellington from BBC One's The Voice.

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Our Junior School Choir Of The Year Heath Mount are here.

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So why not sit back and relax,

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or join in and sing along in this Songs of Praise spectacular?

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Hello and welcome to The Big Sing

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from the magnificent Royal Albert Hall!

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APPLAUSE

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I tell you, this is where Songs Of Praise really goes to town.

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You may be wondering why it's called The Big Sing.

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Well, firstly we have our 40-piece orchestra

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conducted by Paul Leddington Wright!

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To lead us, three magnificent choirs - Adventist Vocal Ensemble,

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Saint Michael's Singers and Brighton Festival Chorus!

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APPLAUSE

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There are no less than 5,000 of us here,

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ready to sing - isn't that right?

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AUDIENCE: Yes!

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That's pretty big in my book, I have to say!

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All of today's hymns have been selected

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to be stirring and exciting.

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Let's start with one that should really raise the roof.

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The mood is triumphant, the imagery, striking.

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It's Crown Him With Many Crowns.

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There are plenty more hymns to come,

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but now it's time for our first star guest.

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He began his working life as a mechanic at a car factory

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in Fleetwood, where he entertained his colleagues singing opera arias.

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From there, he began his journey to the top,

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starring on the West End stage,

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and performing live at the Diamond Jubilee concert in front of royalty.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it has to be Alfie Boe.

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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It has been an amazing journey, hasn't it?

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It has. I've been very fortunate,

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very lucky to be in the right place at the right time

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and had many people around supporting me

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and lots of wonderful fans getting me on my way.

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-Do you miss the factory?

-No. LAUGHTER

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What have been some of the highlights?

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Of course, her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee celebration.

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That was incredible. The view down The Mall was extraordinary,

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and sharing the stage with wonderful artists.

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The 25th anniversary of Les Mis was a pretty big one for me. Thank you.

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You're going to sing a hymn, Be Still My Soul. Very powerful one.

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What's it mean to you?

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It means everything to me. It's a beautiful hymn.

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It's one of my favourite songs and I think, in times of trouble,

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when you're stressed and going through a lot of heartache,

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whatever, you have to believe in the power of faith to get you through.

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And that's what I try and do.

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I can't wait to hear it.

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-Ladies and gentlemen, singing Be Still My Soul, Alfie Boe.

-Thank you.

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APPLAUSE

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# Be still, my soul

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# The Lord is on thy side

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# Bear patiently

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# The cross of grief or pain

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# Leave to thy God

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# To order and provide

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# In every change

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# He faithful will remain

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# Be still my soul

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# Thy best, thy heavenly friend

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# Through thorny ways

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# Leads to a joyful end

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# Be still my soul

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# Thy God doth undertake

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# To guide the future

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# As He has the past

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# Thy hope, thy confidence

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# Let nothing shake

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# All now mysterious shall be bright at last

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# Be still my soul

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# The winds and waves still know

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# His voice who ruled them

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# While He dwelt below

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# When we shall be

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# For ever with the Lord

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# Sorrow forgot

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# Love's purest joys restored

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# Be still my soul

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# When change and tears are past

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# All safe and blessed

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# That we shall meet at last

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# All safe and blest

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# That we shall meet

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# At last. #

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Alfie Boe, everybody!

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APPLAUSE

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-Wasn't that fantastic?

-AUDIENCE: Yes!

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Our next hymn really encompasses the whole world.

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Sung at the Queen's coronation in 1953, it's a fine example

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of the thrill of congregation and choirs joining together in praise.

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It's the glorious All People That on Earth Do Dwell.

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Our next guests sang their little hearts out

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in the School Choir of the Year competition.

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They'd entered many times before,

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but despite their best efforts, always fell short of winning.

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So, imagine their delight

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when they heard the words I'm going to repeat for you now,

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so get ready to clap, OK, ladies and gentlemen?

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The Songs of Praise Junior School Choir of the Year is Heath Mount!

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APPLAUSE

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Before they perform, I'd like to invite to the stage

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someone who wrote the beautiful hymn they're about to sing.

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It's one of the nation's favourites.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome David Evans.

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APPLAUSE

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David, I really don't want to make you blush,

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but on behalf of the millions of people who have sung your hymn,

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personally for me, it really brought me back to God.

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It's probably my favourite hymn ever.

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Thank you, Aled. That means so much to me. It's fantastic.

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It came to you in a flash, didn't it?

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It did, yes. I wasn't planning to write a song,

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but my wife went out to work one evening back in 1985,

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and I started strumming my guitar and Be Still emerged

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within about an hour.

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A little bird tells me

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you were more into your rock music at university.

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Well, you might find it hard to believe,

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dressed as I am tonight, but I was a bit of a rocker in my teenage years.

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And I have actually written some rock praise songs as well,

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but they're probably best forgotten.

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-So, you're still writing?

-Oh, I'm still writing.

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Nothing has quite achieved the success of Be Still.

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I'm quite happy with the success that Be Still has had.

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What makes a good hymn?

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I think it's got to have great words, good content,

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strong theology - and a good tune - but in the end,

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it's got to have that certain quality that touches the heart.

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-Are you looking forward to hearing this choir sing?

-Can't wait!

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I should warn you, you've got about 15 seconds to get up into that box.

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David Evans, ladies and gentlemen!

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Singing, Be Still, for the presence of the Lord, Heath Mount School.

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# Be still the presence of the Lord

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# The Holy One is here

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# Come bow before Him now

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# With reverence and fear

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# In Him no sin is found

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# We stand on holy ground

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# Be still for the presence of the Lord

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# The Holy One is here

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# Be still for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around

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# He burns with holy fire

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# With splendour he is crowned

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# How awesome is the sight?

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# Our radiant King of light

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# Be still for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around

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# Be still for the power of the Lord

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# Is moving in this place

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# He comes to cleanse and heal

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# To minister His grace

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# No work too hard for Him

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# In faith receive from Him

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# Be still for the power of the Lord

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# Is moving in this place

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# Be still for the power of the Lord

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# Is moving in this place. #

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Heath Mount School, ladies and gentlemen!

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APPLAUSE

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If you'd like to enter the School Choir of the Year competition,

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it's not too late to apply.

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Just visit our website,

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where you'll find all the information you need -

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It could be your school lifting the trophy.

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Our next hymn writer,

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Francis Alstyne, penned an amazing 8,000 hymns,

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incredible in itself, but even more so, given that she was blind.

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This hymn lay hidden for decades.

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It's now recognised the world over as a wonderful hymn of praise.

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To God Be the Glory.

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Absolutely glorious.

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Now, the majestic phrases of our next hymn are as moving today

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as when Isaac Watts wrote them.

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Arguably the greatest hymn writer, Charles Wesley, said

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he'd give up all his hymns to have written just this one.

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Many millions enjoyed our next guest's amazing talents on the BBC hit show, The Voice.

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He even managed to move the celebrity judges to tears

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during his first performance.

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Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Jaz Ellington!

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-Hi, Jaz.

-How you doing?

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What was it like being on that show?

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Oh, gosh, it was the most scariest experience of my life.

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But also the greatest. It was so much fun. I learned so much.

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All in a short space of time.

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-Have you ever sung here before?

-Yes.

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-It's amazing, isn't it?

-I've never seen it so full, though.

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-LAUGHTER

-It's well-known that you have a faith.

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How much did that impact on you during the competition?

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You know what? It's all about believing.

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So everything I did, throughout every rehearsal, I just thought,

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believe, you can do it. Throughout the whole experience.

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When you've got something to hold onto, faith, it keeps you going.

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And what about growing up? Was there lots of gospel music in the house?

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Loads of memories of my mum playing gospel music in the kitchen,

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singing at all hours of the night. I'm trying to go to sleep.

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And she's singing at one o'clock in the morning, cooking in the kitchen.

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What did she used to sing?

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-Loads of hymns, like Nearer My God To Thee.

-Oh, yeah?

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Yeah, yeah, she's, gospel is part of my foundation.

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And what are you going to sing for us?

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I'm going to sing Angels by Robbie Williams.

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It's one of my favourite songs.

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I've sung in school, out of school, I still sing it now,

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the words are very powerful to me.

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It's very hymn-like.

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Yeah, you could actually say, you could say it was, yeah,

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I'd say I would've thought it was a hymn if I didn't know better!

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Ladies and gentlemen, singing Angels, it's Jaz Ellington!

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# I sit and wait

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# Does an angel contemplate my fate?

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# And do they know

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# The places where we go

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# When we're grey and old?

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# Cos I've been told

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# That salvation

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# Lets their wings unfold

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# So when I'm lying in my bed

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# Thoughts running through my head

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# And it feels like love is dead

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# I'm loving angels instead

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# And through it all

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# She offers me protection

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# A lot of love and affection

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# Whether I'm right or wrong

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# And down the waterfall

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# Wherever it may take me

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# I know that life won't break me

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# When I come to call

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# She won't forsake me

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# I'm loving angels instead

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# When I'm feeling weak

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# And my pain walks down a one-way street

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# Oh, I look above

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# And I know I'll always be

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# Blessed with love, oh oh

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# As the feeling grows

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# She breathes flesh to my bones

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# And when love is dead

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# I'm loving angels instead

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# And through it all she offers me protection

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# A lot of love and affection

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# Whether I'm right or wrong

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# And down the waterfall wherever it may take me

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# I know that life won't break me

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# When I come to call she won't forsake me

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# I'm loving angels instead

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# Oh, yeah

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# Whoa-oh-oh Oh-oh-oh

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# Yeah, yeah Oh-oh-oh

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# And through it all she offers me protection

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# A lot of love and affection

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# Whether I'm right or wrong

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# And down the waterfall

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# Wherever it may take me

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# I know that life won't break me

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# When I come to call

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# She won't forsake me

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# I'm loving angels instead

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# Oh-oh-oh-oh

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# Yeah. #

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APPLAUSE

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Jaz Ellington, ladies and gentlemen!

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Now, let's continue to put the "big" in The Big Sing.

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It's time to fire up the organ.

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Ready to pull out the stops, it's Daniel Moult.

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APPLAUSE

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Reginald Heber wrote this next hymn for Trinity Sunday,

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the date in the church calendar with a special focus on Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

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It's certainly stood the test of time,

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and the great English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson

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went so far as to describe it as the world's greatest hymn.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, where has the time gone?

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They do say it flies when you're having fun.

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We end this evening with a rousing and inspirational hymn of thanksgiving.

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Clergyman Martin Rinckart wrote this enduring prayer

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nearly 400 years ago for his children to say before bedtime.

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It's a wonderful expression of praise and gratitude.

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From the Royal Albert Hall, from all of us in Songs Of Praise,

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thank you very much, and goodbye.

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Next week, Diane-Louise Jordan visits the city of Chester

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for the stories behind their Mystery Plays production.

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She'll meet the man who plays God

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and see how hundreds of local people are involved.

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And there are much-loved hymns from around the UK

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which tell the Gospel story.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Tenor Alfie Boe and gospel star from The Voice UK Jaz Ellington perform hymns and songs with choirs and 5,000 singers in this Songs of Praise spectacular from the Royal Albert Hall.