A SOMERSET choir leader played a starring role in a fundraising effort which has raised more than £45,000 for Comic Relief.

The team behind Rock Choir, the most popular contemporary choir in the UK, delivered a live virtual weekend festival (from March 12 to 14), with live singing and dancing workshops, cook-a-longs, exercise sessions, cocktail making and many more activities.

The event involved different Rock Choir leaders from across England, Scotland and Wales going live at different times over the weekend and handing over the broadcast to each other in shifts, culminating in the final live concert, professionally produced and directed at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, and featuring a live band.

It's thought to be the first time a professional contemporary choir has sung together in the form of a live concert in a music venue since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

It took place in line with strict government guidelines but allowed the Rock Choir leaders to deliver an emotional and powerful performance, being streamed live to thousands of households across the globe.

The weekend also saw the launch of the Rock Choir video for a cover of Queen’s hit You’re my Best Friend, featuring vocals from local leader Xander-Jaymes Le Petit, who looks after the choirs in Bridgwater, Burnham-on-Sea, Clevedon, Taunton and Weston-super-Mare.

That music video can be viewed here.

Caroline Redman Lusher, creator and creative director of Rock Choir, said: “It was an emotional reunion for both the Rock Choir leaders and the HQ team, as they met at the Birmingham Rep to perform a live streamed concert which created the finale to our huge Rock Choir Comic Relief Weekend.

"I am so proud of my entire team for planning and executing the weekend - it was a huge success.

"So far we have raised 45k for Comic Relief and this total is still rising!"

"A year ago we wouldn’t have had the knowledge or the technical skills to deliver a concert like this.

"Lockdown forced us to deliver Rock Choir online but we quickly adapted and mastered the technology, which in turn has opened up a new and exciting world of opportunities for us.

"However, we are all desperate to return to physical rehearsals and see our precious Rockies again!

"Nothing can compare with the power and emotions we feel when we sing together in a room as one.”

Rock Choir is the largest contemporary choir in the world, with more than 32,000 members in the UK.

For more information about the choir, visit its website here, or to donate to its Comic Relief fundraiser, visit the JustGiving page here.