The charity choir which was presided over by Sir David Amess for 20 years – and sang at his funeral – is set to release a Christmas single in tribute to the late MP.
The Music Man Project, an international music education charity for people with learning disabilities, has teamed up with The Royal Marines Band to create the Christmas single Music Is Magic – with all proceeds going to help support learning-disabled people across the UK.
Sir David, who was an MP for nearly 40 years, was stabbed to death during a constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on October 15, 2021.
David Stanley, who founded the Music Man Project in 2000 in Sir David’s constituency of Southend West, believes the charity single is a fitting tribute to the former MP who was involved with the charity for more than 20 years and became its president.
The Music Man project was one of several charities that Sir David’s family asked people to donate to in lieu of flowers following his death, and the charity sang at his requiem mass which was held at Westminster Cathedral in London.
“He was our biggest champion,” Mr Stanley told the PA news agency.
“Those with learning disabilities will often have a physical disability as well and they’ve got lots of challenges.
“They’re the sort of last to really achieve equality in that respect. Because of the nature of their learning disabilities, you’ve got many adults in particular out there have got no way of changing their own destiny.
“So I’m doing this through music by putting them out there. And David believed in that. And he really believed in them.”
In 2019, Sir David helped the Music Man Project organise an event in which 200 children with learning disabilities played at the Royal Albert Hall in front of a crowd of 3,000 people.
“(Sir David) said, ‘We’ve conquered the Royal Albert Hall. Next stop is Broadway’,” Mr Stanley remembered.
“That’s the ultimate dream.
“So when it came to a tribute, to me, this was the best thing ever, because music is magic. It’s about bringing people together.
“Our link with the Royal Marines was all about can the universal language of music connect those elite musicians with my musicians with learning disabilities? And my gosh, the answer is yes.
“It’s saying to society, if you like, why do we have to concentrate on what people with disabilities can’t do? Why can’t we show people what they can do and reverse that perception.
“(Sir David) would be beaming with pride. I can picture him now, he’d be up there now looking down saying ‘Go on, David’ and he’d be saying the same to the students as well.”
The Christmas single marks the beginning of a long-term partnership between the charity and the Royal Marines band.
“We couldn’t be prouder of this unique collaboration with The Music Man Project. Each performer radiates warmth, energy, and positivity.
“They are also incredibly talented musicians,” said Lieutenant Colonel Jason Burcham, commanding officer of the Royal Marines Band Service and principal director of Music Royal Marines.
“Rehearsing and recording this single was a wonderful experience. Everyone at the Royal Marines Band Service looks forward to creating magic this Christmas with The Music Man Project.”
Music Is Magic is being distributed by records label AMG Global and will be released on December 16 to download and stream on all major digital music stores and streaming services.