Former chorister's 40 Days of Disney idea raises £3,000 for charity
- Credit: TERESA PRIEST
One of the first Ely Cathedral girl choristers has helped raise £3,000 for a musicians' charity by performing a different Disney song a day for 40 days.
Tess Pearson's ’40 Days of Disney’ project aims to raise money for Help Musicians, the Benevolent Fund for Musicians while cheering people up during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The idea is the brainchild of professional solo singer Tess - who started her singing career amongst the first intake of girl choristers into the choir of Ely Cathedral - and her partner James Priest, who is a singer and jazz pianist.
Tess' idea was to perform daily videos online of arrangements of Disney tunes over the 40 days of Lent, from February 17 to Easter Sunday.
More than 30 other musicians are taking part in the project, including Tess’s brother James - who is artistic director at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London - and harpist Cecily Beer, who is official harpist at the Waldorf Hotel.
She said: “The pandemic has been a tough time for all in so many different ways.
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"As musicians, pre-pandemic we led a creative and fundamentally sociable life.
"This has been stripped away, with no end in sight – no work, no likelihood of work and no creative or sociable outlet to shine in.
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"Not only has everyone’s income suffered but our mental health too.
"Many performers have not only lost their livelihoods but have received no financial support from the Government after falling through the gaping holes in the self-employed help scheme.
"I came up with the ’40 Days of Disney’ idea as I was lamenting my lost work and income from the upcoming Easter season."
Tess added that Disney films are something she watches "when I seek nostalgia and comfort.
"I know that many of us are in need of those things right now.”
The group's performances include ‘The Bear Necessities’, sung by the Quarantine Crooners, Tess’s piano arrangement of ‘Candle on the Water’ and James singing all three parts in his own arrangement of ‘We’re Your Friends' from The Jungle Book.
Between now and Easter they will sing 'Baby Mine' (from Dumbo, Tess's arrangement, sung by the Lockdown Ladies) and a big choral arrangement of the finale of Circle of Life from The Lion King.
Tess and James have also recorded a piano duet arrangement of ‘Go the Distance’ and ‘Part of your World’ from ‘The Little Mermaid’.