Burnley musician hopes for Christmas hit

Tom Daggett
Tom Daggett

A Burnley musician has teamed up with an East London vicar and a renowned poet to record what they hope will be a major Christmas hit.

Their 60-strong choir, The Cantignorus Chorus, has been assembled from groups that serve some of the most marginalised people in the country and a debut single, “Holding Out A Helping Hand” is now available on iTunes.

Tom Daggett (23), who went to Wellfield Church School, is directing the Cantignorus Chorus Choir, whose members are drawn from some of the most disadvantaged sections of the community in East London.

The single also features the world-renowned St Paul’s Cathedral choristers who volunteered their services for the ambitious project.

Tom’s musical partner is the Rev. Niall Weir, of St Paul’s in West Hackney, with poet John Hegley completing the trio.

The choir’s members are drawn from; North London Action for the Homeless, Hackney Winter Night Shelter, Narcotics Anonymous, 4Sight Mental Health Lunch Club, Family Mosaic Housing Association tenants’ group, an over 70s’ dance group, Hackney Songworks Community Choir and Stoke Newington Farmers’ Market.

Tom, who obtained a first-class degree in music at Oxford University, has founded SingSpire, a church-based community initiative in East London which brings people together through music.

He said: “Everyone was understandably very nervous at the first rehearsal as many people had never sung before. But within five minutes the whole place was filled with harmony, and there was an immediate buzz. Everyone realised quickly how good they could be, and the choir has provided an amazing opportunity for people to see they can be creative.

“One of the women told me, in tears, that the first thing she does now every morning is listen to the song, because it gives her hope.”

The choir recorded the single at the Angel recording studios in Islington and it is now available on iTunes click here and is available to view on YouTube.

Tom has also been invited to conduct for St Paul’s Cathedral Choir and recently played piano at the auditions for a major new West End musical.

After leaving Wellfield School he attended St Wilfrid’s High School, Blackburn, where he became head boy. He was organ scholar at Blackburn Cathedral. He went on to study music at Lincoln College Oxford, where he was also organ scholar.