“Sing” celebrates Queen’s reign with singers around world

Barlow creates musical masterpiece in honor of Diamond Jubilee

by Scott Thompson

Throughout 2012, the world celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in honor of the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s accession to the throne. Various contributions to the festivities included military and equestrian performances, an armed forces parade, a BBC-hosted concert, and a lighting of over 4,000 beacons all over the world. Gary Barlow’s contribution stood out amidst all of the memorable moments when he presented the official single of the Diamond Jubilee, having written it alongside world-renowned composer Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Simply titled “Sing,” Barlow travelled The Commonwealth, visiting remote villages and countries, to search singers to perform in front of the queen, writing the lyrics in Kenya, the same place where Princess Elizabeth found out her father, King George VI, died and she had ascended the throne.

The melody of the song is a fairly simple one, especially considering it was co-written by such a critically acclaimed composer. This was to allow for musicians around the world to learn it and perform it on their given instruments with relative ease. The effect this produces is breathtaking, introduced by a child singing the hook: “Some words they can’t be spoken, only sung / So hear a thousand voices shouting love.”

As the song progresses, it builds on itself, starting with a soft piano and one singer, which leads into a quiet orchestra backing a small chorus. This then leads into various percussion instruments, as the orchestra crescendos towards powerful moments, with a triumphant tone dominating the overall theme of the track. Eventually, the song climaxes with every featured instrument contributing to the overwhelming swirl of a contemporary orchestra and antiquated instruments showing off the massive cultural reach of the Queen’s empire.

Barlow also put out a music video as a supplement to the song, highlighting his travels across the world, as well as the musicians featured in the song. It’s a powerful, visual accompaniment to “Sing,” which matches the song’s inspirational appeal with a contagious, heartwarming feeling.

Almost two years since “Sing” was released, its positivity remains unwavering in its strength and accessibility, and it is likely to remain so for years to come.

Sophomore Scott Thompson is Arts & Entertainment Editor. His email is sthomps2@fandm.edu.