Will it be Singin’ in The Rain or Mr Blue Skies?
Press release: 17 June 2012
Come rain or shine, members of Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus will gather, with friends and families, to welcome the Olympic flame to Sheffield as it arrives in Parson Cross on 25 June. Chorus Chairman, Julie Smethurst, will carry the torch supported in song by her musical colleagues who want the world to know that she will never walk alone.
Julie, who was nominated by Chorus member Kate Reece, said, “To carry the Olympic flame is the most enormous honour and I can still hardly believe it is really going to happen. Kate nominated me on the basis of my work in the community on access and inclusivity for disabled people and because of the work I have done to support the cultural life of our city. Carrying a torch in the relay will be one of the proudest yet most humbling moments of my life and I am thrilled that my wonderful friends in the Chorus will be singing me and my fellow torchbearers on our way”.
Julie’s Nominator Kate added: “I was thrilled when Julie was selected as one of only 8,000 torchbearers. She is passionate about singing and always encourages everyone with whom she finds herself working. Since Julie is also totally blind, she needs a guide to assist her with the relay and I’m delighted that I will be accompanying her as she carries her torch.”
The Chorus has had the Olympics firmly in their sights throughout 2012. On 3 March the Chorus led the Alight Festival in Sheffield. Featuring 30 separate performances by over 1,500 local amateur musicians and dancers and 2 world premieres – including “Olympic Triptych” by Timothy Allen – this was a tour de force for the city as part of the BBC’s Music Nation day, a Countdown event for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. To support Julie in her moment of glory with the Olympic Torch Relay is therefore a most fitting end to their musical season.
The Chorus hope that their singing will inspire the crowd on Yew Lane at Morrall Road to join in. Sarah Hyde, the Chorus member organising the Parson Cross Lining The Streets event said, “We want Julie and the other torchbearers to be carried along on a wave of song and sincerely hope everyone will join us in raising their voices to celebrate the Olympic flame’s arrival in Sheffield”. They will lead the crowd in the well known and highly appropriate anthem “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Sarah continued, “Singing brings people together in a very special way, and at this amazing moment when we will all be so close to the Olympic flame it’s wonderful that everyone in Parson Cross will have their chance to shine”.