April 23rd - Day 5

You'd have thought it would be quite easy to find a 100-strong choir at a train station - even one as vast as St Pancras International. But I couldn't find one anywhere. "1-2pm", Time Out said. "The Full English...St George's Day performance features a 100-strong choir on the main St Pancras concourse performing a new anthem for England, composed and conducted by Sam Dunkley". I'd stuck close to a promising looking concourse beyond one o'clock, keeping an eye out for one hundred stout men and women, and saw none.

But something anticipatory was in the air. Important looking decks of sound equipment were stacked near the top of escalators. Men with cameras (probably photographers) and men with film cameras lurked. Sound mics were attached to rails and partitions. Young women wearing strange dresses hung about in front of a large screen showing St George's day related snippets of film. There were even some musicians playing kind of rhythm musak on a loop, in an alcove opposite the champagne bar. A bloke and four kids (I was told they were the same family), three of whom had mohican haircuts - the young drummer cutting a particularly fine postcard punk figure.

And so I could have left, but I'd come here to find a hundred strong choir. And I found them hidden away right in a corner (I was sure I'd already looked there). They were a lot smaller than I'd expected, because they were children (from Morden School).

This, as it turned out, was the "gig": (from BBC website) "On 23 April 2009, people in Beds, Herts and Bucks will be able to take part in a unique production to mark St George's Day, as it makes its way from the Milton Keynes Theatre to St Pancras station in London. 'The Full English' will be performed by renowned theatre company Hoipolloi and is designed to be a celebration of all things English, from tea and crumpets to tennis rackets and cakes. Hoipolloi will start the production at the Milton Keynes Theatre, before boarding a double decker bus to Luton station where they will catch a specially decorated train to St Pancras, performing all the way! On arrival at St Pancras International Station, they will be greeted by a 100 strong choir on the concourse, singing a new anthem for England, composed and conducted by young English composer Sam Dunkley."

And that's what happened.




Sam Dunkley with the choir

2011 update - Having trouble finding out much about Sam Dunkley's subsequent music exploits. School still teaching children though.

2014 update - five years on - Sam's twitter describes him as a "freelance community musician with a penchant for singing projects".

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