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Caroling in the deep: Welsh choir sings in the Super Sewer

To help deliver a special Christmas message, Tideway invited members of Côr Y Boro Welsh choir to the Dormay Street site in Wandsworth to belt out special some festive favourites, as well as a selection of Welsh classics.

Eight singers from the choir, which is based near London Bridge, ventured underground to sing carols for the site team and to record a special yuletide video, taking up positions in front of the unique backdrop of tunnel boring machine Charlotte.

The site team, under section manager Kevin Dollard, were exceptionally accommodating as the group made their way to the bottom of the shaft.

Endaf Jones, co-founder of In The Dark, the company behind Tideway’s monthly video update, was on camera duty. However, he is also a key member of the choir, and so played a key role in getting the vocalists down the shaft.

Ross Clarke, one of the tenors who headed down the shaft, said: “As a choir, we've been asked to perform at lots of different venues, from Buckingham Palace to local pubs, but we all agree that this was perhaps the strangest (and deepest) place we've ever sung.

“Many of the choir's ancestors worked underground in the coal mines of South Wales, where the tradition was to sing from pit bottom all the way back to ground level, and we like to think this echoed that tradition. Many thanks for Tideway for inviting us to perform in what is quite possibly a world first, and for being so welcoming.”

Tideway’s Digital Media Lead James Carew, who witnessed the performance first-hand, said: “We’ve been exploring the idea of getting a choir down the tunnel for a while. We thought it would offer some fantastic acoustics, so when Endaf mentioned he was a member of Côr Y Boro, it set the ball rolling.

“Kevin and the team at Dormay Street immediately put their hands up to say they would love to host the group. The choir has previously performed at numerous events – even taking to the pitch during a Six Nations game in Cardiff – so we knew they were good.

“Any fears we had that the shaft might not carry the sound were dispelled within seconds. The performance was fantastic, and the video came out better than we could have hoped.

“What was really great was that some of the site team joined the choir at the bottom of the shaft to enjoy the music. By the end they were firing out requests, from ‘Abide With Me’ to rugby classics including ‘Ireland’s Call’ and ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.

The group appeared delighted to be given the chance to perform in such an unusual venue, and also enjoyed learning more about the project, and how the Tideway project will help to clean the Thames.

A longer video is now available to watch on Tideway’s YouTube channel.   

Welsh choir sings in the Super Sewer