Arsenal Football Club recently filmed its 2012 Christmas message at Emirates Stadium, and called upon Islington Choral Society to help add a touch of festive cheer. Decked out in traditional red and white bar scarves and Gunners hats, the singers lined up to perform ‘Good Old Arsenal’, ‘Ooh to be a Gooner’ and other chants from the terraces, with the video sent out as an e-mail greeting far and wide this December.

Using well-known chants taken straight from the terraces as a starting point, the songs were then transformed into a five-part arrangement by a professional composer for the choir to tackle. Choir members attended extra rehearsals and recording sessions in preparation for the filming at the stadium.   

The group of community choral singers is based in Islington and usually rehearses every Tuesday night at Highbury Baptist Church on the edge of Highbury Fields - just around the corner from the Emirates. Since the Society’s formation 39 years ago, singers have performed classics including Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia and Bach's Christmas Oratorio.

John Leslie, chairman of Islington Choral Society, said: “We were absolutely thrilled when we were asked to take part in the Arsenal Christmas choir project. It’s been such an exciting opportunity for everyone! With many an Arsenal fan in our ranks, I know some were especially pleased to be able to flex their vocal skills and show support for the Arsenal family at Christmas time."

Singer Cary Bazalgette added: “I've been an Arsenal fan for many years, so I was thrilled when this project was announced. I've often seen how really strong crowd support can lift the players - fingers crossed our film will get everyone belting out the songs on Boxing Day!"
To watch the video, click on the PLAY button above.

Anyone interested in hearing Islington Choral Society singing their more usual repertoire will have a chance on Saturday, December 15 when the choir is performing Verdi’s Requiem at St Alban the Martyr Church, Holborn at 6.30 pm. To buy tickets, click here.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
5 Dec 2012