Lee Mead (right, more photos below) was invited to perform at the annual Christmas with the Stars concert in aid of Bloodwise, which took place on Tuesday 8 December at the Royal Albert Hall. The format was reminiscent of the 2013 Salvation Army Christmas Concert which many of Lee's fans also attended, and regardless of the other delights in store for those attending on this occasion, the opportunity to sing carols in this beautiful venue is itself a real joy.
Bloodwise is the UK's biggest blood cancer charity. It strives to improve the lives of patients with all types of blood cancer, funding ground-breaking research to help improve treatments and diagnosis for patients affected by leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and providing information and support to anyone affected by blood cancer.
The concert was hosted by Radio 2 'Listen to the Band' presenter Frank Renton, conducting his very own Concert Brass, with the Sydenham High School Choir conducted by Caroline Lenton-Ward and the Royal Albert Hall's grand organ played by David Bell. Joining Lee on the bill were Cantabile - the London Quartet, the Disney Voices choir (formed a little over a year ago from Disney employees who love to sing), Anne Reid, Margaret Keys, John Sergeant (reading rather than singing, you'll be relieved to hear!) and surprise guest Che Chesterman (who was a little less of a surprise thanks to his X-Factor battle bus parked outside). Each performance was introduced by a guest speaker, some of whom had been involved with this event for many years and/or had very personal reasons for supporting the charity - I recall in particular Arlene Phillips talking very movingly of her own mother's battle with leukemia.
Lee, introduced by Dr Dawn Harper (one of the presenters of Embarassing Bodies), walked on to the stage to loud applause and a fair few wolf whistles, said how honoured he was to be there and with a "shall we do this then, Frank?" to the conductor, started to sing... any of you who have read my reports from Lee's Some Enchanted Evening tour this year will know that one song has stood out for me from the start, so I could not have been more delighted to hear him sing it on this occasion, with this band, in this place. It was, of course, 'Feeling Good' and he totally nailed it.
The video below, filmed from our seats in the Choir (which offered a fabulous if somewhat unconventional view of the proceedings) really doesn't do justice to the power and passion of his performance, but I include it for those who couldn't be there. He returned towards the end of the second half, as part of a finale featuring all the key performers, to sing 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas', remaining on stage to join in as we all sang 'White Christmas' and the final carol of the evening, 'O Come All Ye Faithful'. I include video of 'Merry Christmas' below, taken from the same viewpoint, and you can also see 'White Christmas' and other videos from the evening shared by the lovely Anne Stern on her YouTube channel.
Finally, my thanks to Bloodwise for publishing Sally Mais' stunning photographs of Lee (shared here under creative commons licence) on their Flickr page where you will also find more of her photos from the evening.
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 13 December 2015