Tribute to a Queen - The Big Sing Songs of Praise


Tribute to a Queen - The Big Sing

A musical tribute to Her Majesty the Queen, with Lesley Garrett, Alexander Armstrong and a choir of five thousand voices.


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ORCHESTRAL FANFARE

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-Hello!

-And welcome to the Songs Of Praise Big Sing

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from the Royal Albert Hall,

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as we pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen,

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our the longest-reigning monarch, as she celebrates her 90th birthday.

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We'll be marking the Queen's historic milestone

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with a feast of songs and hymns

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chosen from key moments in an illustrious 64-year reign,

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longer now than Queen Victoria's.

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And we have a wonderful line-up of special guests,

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including one of Britain's favourite singers, Lesley Garrett...

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Quizmaster and songster Alexander Armstrong.

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Add to that a choir of 800, helped along by our 5,000-strong

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audience here, and the Big Sing Orchestra, too.

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That's why you're in for a real treat.

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Our first piece of music was the only hymn sung by the entire

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congregation at Westminster Abbey during the Coronation service

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back in 1953, and it's still a firm favourite today.

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APPLAUSE

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What a fantastic opener!

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Of course, there was also a fanfare or two at the Queen's Coronation.

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Her Majesty gave special permission to the BBC to film the ceremony,

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so that as many people as possible could witness it,

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and a staggering 27 million people in Britain tuned in. Wow.

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How did it feel to be part of that historic occasion?

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Well, we're about to find out.

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Josie's with some very special guests.

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Yes, with me are Dennis Whitehead and Richard Watts,

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who actually sang at the Coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1953.

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They were just young boy choristers back then.

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They're a little bit more mature now

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but I'm very glad that they're with us. Richard,

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now, you were nine years old. You were already an Abbey chorister.

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-Yes, indeed.

-What are your memories of the occasion?

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Well, it was the sheer scale of the thing,

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because the Abbey was normally hosting to 2,000 people.

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This was suddenly scaled up to 8,000 people, and music all the way,

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and colour and everything.

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It must have been fantastic, the pageantry, everything about it.

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Dennis, what was the experience like for you? Were you nervous?

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-Were you emotional?

-I was extremely emotional,

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especially at the beginning of the Parry, I Was Glad.

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When the organ and orchestra struck up, I knew the Queen had

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arrived, and I must admit, I didn't sing the first few notes.

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I had a lump in my throat.

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Now, I can see you're both wearing medals.

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This is something you got on the day.

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Well, we didn't actually get the medals on the day. At one time,

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Coronation medals were given on the day. They were thrown out amongst

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the people in the congregation, and in Victorian times,

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that was stopped, so these were sent to us by Buck House,

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Buckingham Palace, shall we say.

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Thank you so much for sharing those wonderful memories.

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And now back to another former boy chorister. Aled?

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I think she's talking about me, anyway!

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I feel slightly underdressed, I really do.

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We can relive some of those memories now by hearing I Was Glad,

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being sung tonight by our Big Sing choir under

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the direction of conductor Paul Leddington Wright.

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APPLAUSE

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APPLAUSE

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Well, our next hymn was said to be

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one of the late Queen Mother's favourites.

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It was sung at her funeral in 2002.

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It was also chosen for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana,

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and Prince William and Catherine.

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I even had it at mine - I love it so much.

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Here to sing it for us, I'm delighted to say,

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is the marvellous Lesley Garrett.

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APPLAUSE

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So, the Queen of Opera is here to dedicate a song to the Queen.

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-She's a remarkable woman, isn't she?

-Oh, goodness.

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Aled, I think, don't you agree,

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we must be the envy of the world to have this extraordinary woman,

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because it's been an extraordinary life, hasn't it?

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A life full of service and duty. But also inspirational to all of us.

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-Absolutely.

-The other thing is, you know, she's great fun.

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My favourite memory was when I sang for her

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during the Golden Jubilee year,

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and I was presented to the Queen, and we went inside and had lunch,

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and I changed into my nice suit and I was presented again,

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and then we all went to do a concert in the grounds,

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and I sang again and was presented again.

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And when I met her for the third time that day, she said,

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"My dear, might I say, you do have a rather large wardrobe."

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Do you know, I felt like saying,

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"Well, you know, you can talk, love!"

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But then I thought, no, keep that to myself.

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-You didn't say that, did you?

-I didn't say that, no.

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-"Off to the Tower with her!"

-Exactly.

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-Ladies and gentlemen, it's Lesley Garrett!

-Thank you.

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APPLAUSE

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# Guide me, O thou great Redeemer

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# Pilgrim through this barren land

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# I am weak but thou art mighty

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# Hold me with thy powerful hand

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# Open now the crystal fountain

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# Whence the healing stream doth flow

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# Let the fire and cloudy pillar

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# Lead me all my journey through

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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The Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth

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and its greatest champion,

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and this next piece of music was written to reflect the spirit

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that binds the Commonwealth together,

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and our next guest performed it for the Queen in Her Majesty's

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Diamond Jubilee year, and she's here to sing it for us again today.

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Please welcome Laura Wright.

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APPLAUSE

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# From Echo Bay to Kanye

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# Bartica to Bairiki

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# Flowing as one

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# Where any dream can live on

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# With old and with new

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# It is the voice that rings true

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# Oh-oh, calling us

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# Making us one

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# Heart and a soul

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# Shining as gold

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# Under one sun

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# We're stronger as one

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# Montego Bay to Savai'i

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# Sullum Voe to Kalahari

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# Oceans may part

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# But every river must start

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# In valley and hill

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# We are the people who will

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# Oh-oh, come now, joining as one

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# Heart and a soul

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# Shining as gold

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# Under one sun

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# We're stronger as one

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# In the rise and the fall

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# Of echoed words in great halls

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# Nations may dawn

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# But it is we who are born

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# All equal and free

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# With the power to see

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# Oh-oh, who among many has one

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# Heart and a soul

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# Shining as gold

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# Under one sun

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# We're stronger as one

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-# Heart and a soul

-Heart and a soul

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-# Shining as gold

-Shining as gold

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# Under one sun

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# We're stronger as one

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# Stronger

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# As one. #

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APPLAUSE

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Now, then, the Queen has always had close ties with

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and huge regard for our armed services,

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so we've put together a tri-forces band led by Corps Regimental

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Sergeant Major Gary Chilton to perform one of our best-loved hymns.

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# I vow to thee, my country

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# All earthly things above

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# Entire and whole and perfect

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# The service of my love

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# The love that asks no question

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# The love that stands the test

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# That lays upon the altar

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# The dearest and the best

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# The love that never falters

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# The love that pays the price

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# The love that makes undaunted

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# The final sacrifice

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# And there's another country

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# I've heard of long ago

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# Most dear to them that love her

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# Most great to them that know... #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Well, wasn't that absolutely fantastic? Loved it.

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Our next guest performer made his name as a comic artist

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and latterly as a quiz show host

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on the BBC's hugely popular show Pointless.

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He's also a very, very talented singer.

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It's Alexander Armstrong!

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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What are you going to sing for us this evening?

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I'm going to sing this evening I Would Be True,

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to the tune of Londonderry Air, absolutely beautiful tune.

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Lots of different settings, there's obviously Oh, Danny Boy, very famous.

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And I think it enshrines a lot of the qualities of the Queen.

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And actually there's another little added harmonic to this as well,

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which is that it was performed at the funeral of the Princess of Wales,

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so I think it also just has a note...

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I think we can listen to it and remember the calm dignity

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with which we weathered those tough times.

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Listen, we can't wait to hear it, can we? It's Alexander Armstrong.

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# I would be true

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# For there are those that trust me

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# I would be pure

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# For there are those that care

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# I would be strong

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# For there is much to suffer

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# I would be brave

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# For there is much to dare

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# I would be friend of all

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# The foe, the friendless

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# I would be giving

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# And forget the gift

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# I would be humble

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# For I know my weakness

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# I would look up

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# Laugh, love and live

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# Who is so low

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# That I am not his brother?

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# Who is so high

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# That I've no path to him?

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# Who is so poor

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# I may not feel his hunger?

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# Who is so rich

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# I may not pity him?

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# I would be true

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# For there are those that trust me

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# I would be pure

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# For there are those that care

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# I would be strong

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# For there is much to suffer

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# I would be brave

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# For there is much to dare

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# I would be brave

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# For there is much

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# To

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# Dare. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Thank you, Alexander Armstrong.

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Well, our audience here at the Albert Hall certainly enjoyed that,

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and no-one more so than Colin Edwards.

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Colin is a massive fan of the Royal Family,

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and he's met the Queen a staggering amount of times.

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-How many times is it, Colin?

-Oh, many, many times.

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Probably at least 150 now.

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You must be old friends. How come you've met her so many times?

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Well, I've travelled all over this country and met her

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on walkabouts, and I have very brief conversations with her,

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and I always take photographs to present to her.

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Does she recognise you sometimes?

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Well, when you've met someone as often as I've met the Queen,

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yes, she definitely does.

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She's a very special lady. Thank you, Colin. Aled.

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Well, two other Royal fans, Andrew Lloyd Webber, now a Lord, of course,

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and Take That's Gary Barlow,

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composed Sing especially for the Diamond Jubilee back in 2012.

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And to perform it are the Adventist Vocal Ensemble,

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and our school choir winners, Ysgol Iau Llangennech,

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and Cantabile Girls Choir.

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Let's sing!

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APPLAUSE

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# Some words, they can't be spoken

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# Only sung

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# So hear a thousand voices

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# Shouting love

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# There's a place, there's a time in this life

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# When you sing what you are feeling

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# Find your feet, stand your ground

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# Can't you see right now the world is listening

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# To what we say?

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# Sing it louder, sing it clearer

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# Knowing everyone will hear you

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# Make some noise, find your voice tonight

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# Sing it stronger, sing together

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# Make this moment last for ever

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# Old and young shouting love tonight

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# To sing we've had a lifetime to wait

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# Wait, wait, wait

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# And see a thousand faces celebrate

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# We have to celebrate

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# You brought hope, you brought life, conquered fear

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# No, it wasn't always easy

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# Stood your ground, kept your faith

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# Don't you see right now the world is listening

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# To what we say?

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# Sing it louder, sing it clearer

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# Knowing everyone will hear you

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# Make some noise, find your voice tonight

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# Sing it stronger, sing together

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# Make this moment last for ever

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# Old and young shouting love tonight

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# Some words, they can't be spoken

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# Only sung

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# To hear a thousand voices

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# Shouting love and life and hope

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# Just sing

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# Just sing

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# Just sing

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# Just sing

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# Sing it louder, sing it clearer

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# Knowing everyone will hear you

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# Make some noise, find your voice tonight

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# Sing it stronger, sing together

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# Make this moment last for ever

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# Old and young shouting love tonight

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# Hear a thousand voices

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# Shouting love. #

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Our next piece of music is a firm favourite in the Royal household.

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The Queen chose it as the processional hymn at her wedding

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in 1947, and once again, it's a hymn that's stood the test of time.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, that was absolutely wonderful, I think we raised the roof there,

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and hopefully we're about to do the same again,

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as we welcome back our special guests for our final piece of music.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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And it has to be the National Anthem, of course,

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containing the words "long to reign over us".

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Never has that sentiment been more appropriate than today.

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So thank you so, so much for joining us for this year's Big Sing.

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-From us all here at the Royal Albert Hall, goodbye.

-Goodbye.

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# God save our gracious Queen

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# Long live our noble Queen

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# God save the Queen

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# Send her victorious

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# Happy and glorious

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# Long to reign over us

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# God save the Queen. #

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APPLAUSE

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A musical tribute from the Royal Albert Hall to Her Majesty the Queen, with special guests Lesley Garrett, Alexander Armstrong and a choir of five thousand voices.


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