According to Wikipedia, a flash mob is “a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse”. Flash mobs in London have featured dancing, drinking and naked cycling. It was clearly time for a singing flash mob and the day chosen was Saturday September 13th.
Sing London (a group set up to get all London singing) asked members of the Pinkies, the London Gay Men’s Chorus and Diversity Choir to flash mob the people outside the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington who were queuing for the Last Night of the Proms. This was a great opportunity for the three London LGBT choirs to sing together as well as drumming up some publicity for next May’s Various Voices Festival of Song on the South Bank.
So at 3pm on the Saturday around fifty singers (in their Pink Singers or Various Voices t-shirts) gathered in the Royal College of Music, opposite the Royal Albert Hall, to rehearse the two songs chosen for the event – Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” and “Jerusalem”. Luckily I knew the words to Jerusalem (all those years in the Women’s Institute finally paid off) and the only words the tenors & basses had to sing in the Abba piece seemed to be “take a chance, take a chance, take a Jackie Chan chance” or something like that.
Finally at 4pm we ventured out into the queues complete with gold arm bands – to show we were not pushing in. For once this summer the sun shone brightly as we quietly started to sing (chanting Jackie Chan etc) while handing out leafets with the lyrics, encouraging people to take part. By the time we got to our second number many of the people in the queues were gathered round and singing along. A number of tourists looked puzzled by the lyrics of Jerusalem (they had not seen any dark satanic mills in Chelsea) but joined in with enthusiasm anyway.
And then it was all over and in the spirit of the flash mob we quickly dispersed, albeit to the nearby Polish Club for drinks and plans for the next time.