The Havant male choir eyeing the UK's Christmas number one after recording a song at the London Coliseum

CHOIR singers from Havant are eyeing up the UK’s Christmas number one spot after they helped record a tune for the homelessness charity Shelter alongside a famous opera trio.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 4:57 pm
From left, opera singers Lesley Garrett, Alice Coote and Sir Bryn Terfel at the London Coliseum for the recording of A Place to Call Home. Solent Male Voice Choir also took part. Picture: Solent Male Voice Choir

The Solent Male Voice Choir members were in fine voice as they joined more than 2,400 others for the spectacular at the London Coliseum.

It saw choirs from across the UK back up English National Opera singers Bryn Terfel, Lesley Garrett and Alice Coote to record A Place to Call Home

Composer Alex Woolf wrote the track and spearheaded the session in a bid to raise charity funds for those without a home this Christmas.

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David McVittie, Solent Male Voice Choir’s acting chairman, said the massive recording on October 30 brought a dynamic like no other.

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‘Because there were so many people taking part most of the singers were in the auditorium actually singing at the stage,’ the 70-year-old said.

‘What was amazing was that even though there were 2,500 people making one big choir, we were all treated exactly the same as the rest of the musicians and were spoken to as if we were one of them.

‘The choirs that took part were from all over the country and there were school groups and a signing choir there too. 

‘We had a wonderful day and it’s something we may never experience again.’

Mr McVittie said more than 20 takes were recorded during the three-hour session, with choirs contributing to all but ‘three or four lines’.

The finished song is due to be released in December and the brains behind it hope Good Samaritans could propel it to a Christmas number one.

Proceeds will go toward Shelter, which helps millions of people each year struggling with bad housing or homelessness, by offering advice, support and legal services. 

‘It would be great to have a number one,' said Mr McVittie. 

‘We are a tiny part of a huge choir, but it would feel really good.’ 

He added: ‘Homelessness is very sad and a lot of people don't know what they can do to help. 

‘Hopefully the song will get a lot of plays. I could see Classic and Scala picking it up.' 


The lyrics for A Place to Call Home 

Before joining in the big recording, choirs across the country were encouraged to record their own versions of A Place to Call Home and share them with Mr Woolf via Facebook. This saw the composer publish the song’s lyrics, alongside the sheet music for it. 

A Place to Call Home's lyrics are as follows: 


I stumbled across

A figure unknown,

Alive but alone, lost in his dreaming.

I stumbled because

That figure alone

He must have known what I was thinking:

That’s no place to call home.


I’ve stumbled before,

And I’ll stumble again.

I wish I’d known then how to give shelter.

I’ll stumble some more,

But I’ll seize the day, then

We’ll see the day when it’s not much to ask for:

A place to call home.


Sure as home is where the heart is

Homelessness is heartless and cruel.


If the heart is where the home is,

Aren’t we all homeless too?


I stumbled again

On that figure now known,

No longer alone, secure and with shelter.

I stumbled and then

I saw how he’d grown

In a place of his own.


So if home’s where the heart is

Then surely it’s smartest to start helping figures unknown.

Then we’ll all have a place…

A place to call home.

A place to call home.