2 June 2022

A right royal rhythm: The Salvation Army featured in Jubilee anthem

Emily Bright

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'Rise Up and Serve', the Platinum Jubilee anthem
A joyful anthem written and recorded for the Platinum Jubilee celebrates the Queen’s years of service and her faith, writes War Cry’s Emily Bright.

Against the majestic backdrop of the Tower of London, the scene was set for a jubilant celebration of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne through song. Singers and musicians gathered on a brisk and breezy morning to record the music video for the Platinum Jubilee anthem ‘Rise Up and Serve’.

Among them were songwriters Graham Kendrick and Mal Pope, the Aldgate School Children’s Choir and gospel singer Muyiwa Olarewaju, who added words of tribute in the African languages of Hausa, Swahili, Igbo and Yoruba. Others, such as The Salvation Army’s Regent Hall Band, sent in their own recordings for inclusion in the music video. Contributions came from musicians representing not just the UK, but also Australia, Canada, Fiji and India.

Singers performing the Jubilee anthem and holding bands
Filming the Jubilee anthem

Graham Kendrick, who co-wrote and sang the anthem in collaboration with Mal Pope and Christian band Rend Collective, recalls the recording of the music video. ‘It was very cold,’ he laughs, ‘There was a chill wind blowing up the Thames. But our hearts were warm, and I think that comes across in the video. There was a lovely spirit about it. Everybody was so friendly.

‘It was also a great picture of the diverse range of people that enjoy the heritage that the Queen represents, with different ages and backgrounds.’

Graham explains how the anthem came about: ‘Often people ask the question: what comes first, the words or the music? Sometimes it’s the phone call. A friend of mine, Les Moir, was commissioning a Platinum Jubilee anthem and asked if I’d like to co-write it.

‘As a writer, I like to be given challenges. It saves me from the horror of the blank sheet of paper, when I don’t know where to start.’

Graham Kendrick holding a guitar
Songwriter Graham Kendrick

As part of his research, Graham read a book about the Queen published to celebrate her 90th birthday.

‘The Queen is the longest-serving monarch the UK has ever had, and she has been so consistent in her character,’ he says. ‘She has made no secret of the fact that she’s a committed Christian, and she always refers back to that as her inspiration, especially in her Christmas broadcasts.’

The Salvation Army is no stranger to performing for the Queen, as Paul Sharman, The Salvation Army’s assistant director of Music and Creative Arts and bandmaster of Regent Hall Band explains.

A camera operator filming Regent Hall Band playing on Oxford Street

‘Over the years, the band has played in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace many times and we played carols for the Queen and the senior royals at Windsor Castle only 18 months ago.

‘It was a privilege for a Salvation Army band to be involved in the jubilee anthem project. We hope that, as people come together to celebrate, this song will remind them that her life has been one of service to others and that her faith has played an important part in that life and service.’

Read more about the Jubilee anthem in this week’s War Cry.

Written by

Emily Bright

Emily Bright

Staff Writer, War Cry

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