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Funky Voices take Belgium by storm!

Jan 03, 2020


Essex and Suffolk-based community choir proved that there’s the perfect choir tour destination for any style of set list… and you may not have to think as far outside the box as you thought!

In December 2019, 115 members of Funky Voices took a 3-day whistle-stop tour to Belgium. Staying in the beautiful, history-rich town of Ypres, the group enjoyed 2 very different gigs. The first in the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Kerk in the seaside town of De Panne, and the second on the outdoor stage at the Ypres Christmas Markets.

 


The local congregation in De Panne got more than they bargained for!

For the locals of De Panne, it was a normal, cold December morning as two coaches full of ‘Funkies’ pulled up outside the church that stands in the heart of the high street. From the outside, the OLV-Kerk is a modest structure, but step through the big, brown, wooden doors and you’re greeted by something totally unexpected – magnificent high ceilings, grand archways and a beautifully simple alter all bathed in light flooding in through the gorgeous, large windows.

This church works hard to provide regular performances for the locals of De Panne, who turn out in force to support visiting choirs. However, on this particular Saturday morning, the local congregation got a lot more than they bargained for.

As over 150 people took their seats, the music began to play, and it took just a moment to realise that this was the start of Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’. Yes, this 100-strong choir from the UK were singing Eminem to over 150 locals in a church in the small Belgian town of De Panne. But just as the audience thought they knew what they were getting, the track changed and the choir belted out the lyrics, ‘Here comes old flat top, he come groovin’ up slowly’ from The Beatles hit ‘Come Together’.

Over the next 5 minutes the audience sat in complete awe as they heard a mash-up of songs by the likes of Eminem, The Beatles, Adele, Queen and Coolio.

The next 40 minutes resembled the famous scene from Sister Act as people flooded in from the street to see what was going on. Dog walkers, couples carrying their weekly shop and parents with their children simply out for a stroll all wandered through the doors of the OLV-Kerk to see what this most spectacular, and unique, sound was.

As the show went on, over 250 people were treated to cleverly crafted combos of songs by Steps, The Pogues, Jennifer Hudson and TV theme tunes from Happy Days and Friends, no less!

Ever wondered how a Belgian audience might react to such a varied, unique and brave set list? They absolutely loved it! The Funkies are truly just a (very large) group of friends singing and having fun, and how can that not be infectious? By the end, almost every member of the audience was up on their feet clapping along to Jenifer Hudson’s ‘One Night Only’.

 


Riding on their euphoria, it was onwards to Ypres!

Located right in the centre of the Ypres Christmas market, surrounded by food and drink stalls, is the covered stage known as the ‘Almhut’ – the perfect place for a Christmas concert! This gig was clearly about having fun and getting into the Christmas spirit. At the front of the crowd children danced, whilst further back dads lifted their kids onto their shoulders for a better view of the action. To the sides, onlookers danced along with a mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand and needed no encouragement from Musical Director, Sandra, and the choir to sing along. The set list was just as varied as the last and the choir treated the crowd to medleys from the Backstreet Boys and, of course, some Christmas songs!

 


This unique and varied set list has travelled the world!

Funky Voices have treated audiences around the world to their ‘sound’ – from New York to Gothenburg and Barcelona to Belgium… and so the list continues! With a couple of trips already in the pipeline for 2020, the choir really are taking the world by storm, proving that there is the perfect destination for any style of choir – and the choices may well surprise you!