RNCM alum brings 120 musicians together to raise funds for Help Musicians UK

We caught up with RNCM alum Thomas Guthrie, who brought 120 musicians together while in isolation to perform Where Have All the Flowers Gone? to fundraise for Help Musicians UK.

Your version of Where Have All the Flowers Gone? is great! How did you come up with the idea?

I’ve enjoyed people’s musical contributions online and was inspired to do my own. In this project I wanted to include as many people of as many ages and backgrounds as possible… I didn’t quite know what it would become. It’s so good for people to come together like this, and raising money for Help Musicians as well – it was a no brainer.

Why did you choose this song?

I love the song and its bittersweet circular aspects touched a chord and just felt right. I had worked on an arrangement a few years ago so it was already mulling around in my mind.

How did you get in touch with all the singers and musicians involved?

Facebook mostly! I wrote to some of the soloists, and called on some of my neighbours, including the young lady at the end, who’s a professional actress, but otherwise it was just putting a shout out to see who might enjoy taking part.

What were the challenges of putting all the clips together?

Gross technical incompetence mostly! I’ve done some basic audio and video editing before, but this was a steep learning curve, and halfway through my computer packed up under the strain, so I had to outsource the video editing. When it came back there were still things I could do, but the bulk of the sorting of 120 individual video tracks was done. It was a huge relief – I’d been feeling this enormous sense of responsibility to all the people who had contributed and couldn’t bear the idea of letting them down!

What advice would you give to singers and musicians right now in lockdown?

It’s a great time to practise, and as everyone knows, technique is the thing that frees you to be the musician you can be. And dare to take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you’re doing. It’s not easy, but if we can see that this time is a gift as well as a challenge, then we give ourselves a better chance to be the artists we might be and contribute what we can to the world.

To find out how to be a part of Thomas’s next video project, a cover version of We’ll Meet Again, click here.

5 May 2020