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Tickets selling fast as West Northants Choir Festival announces final line-up for performance headlined by Royal Wedding’s Karen Gibson MBE


21 March 2024

4 headshots of diverse individuals

Royal Wedding Choir Director Karen Gibson MBE will exclusively perform alongside a 200-person West Northants based super choir – with ‘Black Panther’ soundtrack vocalist, Downton Abbey String Quartet, Blur’s backing singer plus many more local acts completing the line-up. Here’s what we know about Collide: A ChoirFest Experience.

Limited tickets are still available for Collide: A ChoirFest Experience featuring special guest Karen Gibson MBE, famed for her performance at the Duke and Dutchess of Sussex’s wedding, as excitement is at an all-time high for the hotly anticipated groundbreaking show coming to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre on Saturday 30 March.

Promising to be a perfect music event for the Easter bank holiday weekend, the stage is set for an unmissable musical experience for lovers of all genres and styles; from pop to disco, and rock to gospel, there’s something for everyone. 200 voices from across West Northants; including a Gospel Choir, accomplished solo singers, and performers from Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT) will all join the stellar lineup, with the night being hosted by Blur backing vocalist Wendi Rose and popular local broadcaster John Griff.

Meet the hosts

London based radio host and live show presenter, Wendi ‘Rubee’ Rose is an experienced and charismatic backing singer who has toured the world many times over, performing at major venues from Sydney Opera House to Madison Square Garden with some of music’s top artists including Blur, duetting with Nick Cave, Mariah Carey, Sam Smith, Stormzy, Sir Paul McCartney and the late Tina Turner.

She served as the principal choir director for the London Community Gospel Choir for over 15 years, citing meeting the great Nelson Mandela and HM Queen Elizabeth II as two memorable moments.

Wendi's infectious humour, fun nature and warm personality will be a welcome addition to the exhilarating show format as she hosts Collide: A ChoirFest Experience alongside Northants’ very own John Griff.

A firm favourite with listeners, John's voice has been heard over local and national radio airways for over three decades. A columnist for the Northampton Chronicle and Echo newspaper, John is a professional podcast producer and presenter, having worked with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Northamptonshire Police and Chester House Estate teams, amongst others.

Away from work, John is a Trustee of the Nene Rivers Trust and an Ambassador of both the Northamptonshire Community Foundation and Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT).

The amazing work of NMPAT will also be championed on the night by performers from the county’s biggest, most impactful arts teaching provider. As one of the official charities of choice for the event, NMPAT are set to deliver a breath-taking moment during the unforgettable night of music and electrifying performances. Having provided children and young people with musical and artistic opportunities for well over 4 decades, their Saturday Music and Performing Arts Centres, extensive programme of concerts and events, plus individual music lessons demonstrate their reach and dedication to The Arts within Northamptonshire and beyond.

Meet the performers

In addition, local singers Joely Wright and Lufuno Ndou will deliver stunning solo performances, billed as breathtaking, standout moments representing the rich musical offering across the area.

Lufuno Ndou is a South African-born Mezzo-Soprano who grew up in Northampton. She then went on to study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, record music for the Black Panther films, perform with the Pegasus Opera Company, and sing with Chineke! Orchestra at the 2022 BBC Proms.

Hailing from Kingsthorpe, Northampton, Joely Wright will bring her passion and love for musical theatre to Collide: A ChoirFest Experience as she represents the Northants Youth Music 23 project (NYM23). A voluntary run organisation, NYM23 is developing work to create opportunities for singers and musicians (18-30) to facilitate their continual musical development at every stage in their journey. Having opened the 2023 Community Foundation Awards Ceremony at the Royal Theatre, Joely has proved a talented, popular ambassador for NYM23. Joely has graduated from SLP College with a Level 6 Trinity Diploma in Musical Theatre, with ambitions to perform on West End stages.

Featuring specially arranged mass ensemble pieces created and conducted by award winning, Music Director Gareth Fuller, the evening is set against a backdrop of an all-star live band and string quartet plus full production crew all credited with supporting A-list music artists at iconic international venues and festivals.

“It is an honour to share the stage with Karen Gibson at Collide: A ChoirFest Experience, which promises to be an extraordinary production showcasing the amazing music across West Northants."

“The event will shine a spotlight on the impact of differing musical backgrounds, genres and disciplines all joining one stage. It is a pleasure to be part of this magnificent occasion in West Northants music.”
Gareth Fuller, Choir Director at Liam Gallaher’s sell out Knebworth shows.
“I am thrilled that West Northamptonshire is the chosen destination for such big household names to deliver what is set to be a showstopping event."

“Collide: A ChoirFest Experience is the largest multi-genre choir performance to take place in our area yet, featuring some of West Northamptonshire’s finest local and community choirs, talented soloists and inspiring performers from NMPAT, showcasing the fantastic musical offering we have here in West Northants. I strongly urge everyone to buy their tickets now to avoid disappointment.”
Councillor Adam Brown, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire Council and Cabinet Member for Housing, Culture and Leisure.

Tickets for Collide: A ChoirFest Experience are on sale now, available from Royal and Derngate.

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