A Bedford-based close harmony quintet is releasing one-minute videos of Christmas carols and songs this Advent to raise money for Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends.
The Goldentones comprises five local singers who started making online videos in the first coronavirus lockdown earlier this year.
And their numbers have been boosted by two tiny additions, baby Heidi and baby Frankie, who were both born at Bedford Hospital during lockdown.
Back in April, their video of Somewhere Over the Rainbow raised over £500 for the charity and the group hope to raise a similar sum throughout December.
You can donate to their fundraiser at their Justgiving page here.
Founded in 2017, The Goldentones are made up of sopranos Eve McGrath and Lottie Greenhow, alto Sally McGrath, tenor Harry Bagnall and bass Henry Vann. All the singers live in Bedford and are active in the local music scene.
“We originally began as a group of friends who would have dinner together and do some singing for fun afterwards,” said Lottie.
“We had such a good time doing this that we started to put together our own arrangements and before long we had our first live concert at Bedford’s Foster Hill Road Cemetery.”
Despite the country going into lockdown in March, the five singers were keen to continue making music.
“We really missed singing together, but it’s been a really fun challenge adapting to making music online and learning to use the technology, which was new to us,” said Eve.
The group have released a number of videos ranging from Disney songs to Meghan Trainor covers.
Their most popular, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, has received over 10,000 views on Facebook.
Tenor Harry Bagnall says, “We knew our videos were reaching people when I started getting recognized on the street when I was out walking the dog!”
“We wanted to do something that would not only cheer people up in the run-up to Christmas but also raise some more money to help the hospital through the second wave,” says alto Sally McGrath.
The quintet were also keen to support the hospital after four of the singers became parents this year.
Lottie and Harry welcomed baby Heidi to the world in July, whilst Eve and Henry had baby Frankie in September.
“Both the babies were born at Bedford Hospital, so it is great to be able to give something back to the hospital charity through our music,” says the group’s bass, Henry.
The Goldentones’ ‘Advent Caroldar’ features a mixture of traditional carols, such as Ding Dong Merrily on High and Once In Royal David’s City, and popular songs such as Wonderful Christmastime and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer which will feature local beatboxer Ozzlebox.
The singers have also chosen some less well-known carols which they think listeners will enjoy, including “No Small Wonder” by Bedfordshire composer Paul Edwards.
“We wanted to feature some local composers and performers to show that music in Bedford is very much thriving, even during lockdown,” said Eve.
The group are hoping that their online ventures will lead to live performances in the future and they’re already looking forward to their booking to sing at the River Festival in July 2021.
You can donate to the Goldentones fundraiser for Bedford Hospital Charity and Friends here.