Following his much enjoyed appearance at the Salvation Army's Christmas Concert in the Royal Albert Hall last November, Lee once again shared a stage with the International Staff Songsters as a guest soloist at their Choral Spectacular at Regent Hall Corps, London on Saturday 5 April.
The concert was in support of the Salvation Army's work in Brazil and I am delighted to read today that £4000 was raised for their favela project.
Regent Hall Corps, the only church on Oxford Street and affectionately known as 'The Rink' due to a former life as a roller-skating rink, is a beautiful venue with a high-arched roof into which the swell of voices soars.
The International Staff Songsters, led by Dorothy Nancekievill, and accompanied by Richard Phillips (piano), Chris Carter (bass guitar) and Andrew Shires (percussion), performed a wonderful selection of Christian music from their wide-ranging repertoire and were joined by the Massed Chorus who had taken part in the afternoon's Workshop with the Songsters for three wonderful and, in view of the short rehearsal time, extremely impressive items.
Introduced by the Songsters' Executive Officer, Lieut-Colonel George Pilkington, with much gentle teasing of his fans in the front rows, Lee walked down from his seat in the balcony, commented that he doesn't usually sing with the lights on, then perched on a stool centre-stage and sang... first his achingly beautiful version of 'Hallelujah', accompanied on piano for this and his other songs by bass Songster Elliot Launn, then standing, and backed by the Songsters' men, he continued with a personal favourite, 'Anthem' . Lieut-Colonel Pilkington later joked that Lee could sing anything and his fans would be happy, and he's pretty much right, but I'm so very glad Lee chose these two - they sounded amazing in this lovely Hall.
During the interval we chatted to many of the Songsters and learned what we were to hear from Lee in the second half - "something with the children", which could only be 'Any Dream Will Do' and, apparently at the lovely Kev Fenton-Herring's suggestion (to which Lee initially replied "I don't sing that one anymore"), 'Love Changes Everything'. Well, I'm pleased to report that Lee DOES still sing it, and as well as I have ever heard him. And earlier in the second half, there was a surprise addition to the children's choir, who filed in up the aisles in true Joseph fashion, when Lee brought his beautiful daughter, Betsy, down to the stage with him. The performance was a joy to watch, truly heart-warming, and the children played their part brilliantly.
Lee's fellow guest, Australian baritone Nicholas Lester, who regularly attends Regent Hall Corps, also sang twice during the evening, including an outstanding, very animated and highly enjoyable rendition of Figaro, while his wife, soprano Songster Kerry Sampson, was featured soloist in 'All Rise'.
The full programme of music, along with further information about the work of the Salvation Army, the Songsters and their guests, are detailed in the programme - click the cover above/right to view.
My thanks to The Rink for being so welcoming, to all the performers for making such heavenly sounds and to Kev Fenton-Herring for organising such a fantastic evening and for his endless patience with queries and booking requests from Lee's many fans.
The concert was filmed and photographed for the ISS but no video of Lee's songs have since emerged. We do have, however, a handful of photos from the lovely Anne Stern...
Lee's full concert schedule (including past appearances) can be found at - CONCERT DATES
Last updated: 6 December 2014