A host of music's top names have been announced for the annual Nordoff Robbins Carol Service, which will be held virtually for the first time.
Set for Tuesday, December 15, The Stars Come Out To Sing At Christmas fundraiser will feature Christmas carols, festive messages and musical performances streamed via carols.nordoff-robbins.org.uk
I jumped at the chance to host the event and to bring along some of my closest musical friends to help spread some Christmas cheer
Rodgers said: “Nordoff Robbins music therapy is a charity close to my heart as I’ve witnessed the power of music first hand. I’ve seen how music connects with people all over the world in a way that nothing else can so when I heard that Nordoff Robbins were taking their annual carol service online, I jumped at the chance to host the event and to bring along some of my closest musical friends to help spread some Christmas cheer.
"I know how hard this year has been for everyone, in particular charities. Because of the pandemic, Nordoff Robbins are expecting to lose much of their fundraising income. This means they are able to help less people, including children with autism who rely on music therapy for a sense of connection or those affected by life-limiting illnesses or disability – even though their services are needed now more than ever."
Also joining the bill are James Dean Bradfield from Manic Street Preachers, Simple Minds, Rebecca Ferguson and The Script’s Danny O’Donoghue, while there will be a festive message from BBC Young Musician award-winning cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, with others to be announced.
Viewers at home will be invited to donate at any point during the virtual concert, with all proceeds going to Nordoff Robbins, the UK’s largest independent music therapy charity.
The appearances will come from across the globe - including the stars’ homes, Abbey Road Studios and in keeping with the traditional service from previous years, the choir will be filmed from St Luke’s Church in Chelsea.
This year’s line-up was put together with the help of Hipgnosis Songs Fund and its CEO and founder Merck Mercuriadis, along with co-founder Rodgers.
Sandra Schembri, CEO of Nordoff Robbins, said: “What a wonderful event this year’s carol service is going to be. We are so thankful to everyone who is making this event reality – our funding partner, Hipgnosis Songs Fund, streaming partners LSEG and OpenExchange, as well as all the artists who are involved, you are helping to put on a magical evening of Christmas carols.
"This year Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy has been hit really hard. Our fundraising, pre-pandemic, has always been about bringing people together to celebrate the power of music. But we have simply not been able to do this in 2020.
"Now we are expecting to lose around 75% of our fundraising income, contributing to a loss of income of almost £6 million. This means we will be able to help less people with the power of music – even though our services are needed now more than ever.
"However, it’s events like this, with the support of our partners, artists and everyone watching at home, that will help us continue to meet the needs of people with music as and where can - whether online or face to face. I hope everyone joins in for a wonderful night and celebrates the power of music with us.”
SSE Energy Services is partnering on the event, while Scala Radio will be media partner for a second year running and Modern English Digital will be digital partner.
The event will be available to watch on Tuesday, December 15 at 7pm via carols.nordoff-robbins.org.uk