Firefighters from Welshpool, Powys and across mid and west Wales launched their bid to reach the top of the singles chart and achieve a Christmas Number One Single.
Although they are used to literally climbing heights, the bid to record and release a potential Christmas Number 1 is a very new challenge to the firefighters of Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
The group, formed under the name ‘The Fire Tones’, was the vision of Welshpool Firefighter, Chris Birdsell-Jones who dreamed of a band of firefighters reaching the top of the charts with the all-time classic Christmas hit “Do they know it’s Christmas?”. The single is set to raise money for the Firefighters Charity and the Band-Aid Charity Trust.
Firefighter Chris Birdsell-Jones said, “It started when we were in a bar in Welshpool around this time last year – the first song that came on was ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’
As we sat there, everyone in the bar was singing along or tapping the bar and it got me wondering if we could do something for charity.
I said it out loud and everyone told me I was dreaming! But a couple of days later there was a film on called ‘Daddy’s Home 2’ and the song is on the soundtrack, so I took it as a sign and got to work.”
With the necessary permissions in place, Chris set about widening the search for talent from other UK Fire and Rescue Services to contribute to the single.
Interest and momentum quickly gathered, from firefighters across the UK, leading to an offer of a recording session at the BIMM Music College, Birmingham, in the newly built recording studio. From across the UK, firefighters drove and flew to Birmingham to record the vocals in a hectic 12-hour recording session, masterminded by producer Steve Osborne and expert vocal arranger Louise Warren.
Chris also added, “We wanted to honour the spirit of the original recording, so we wanted to get it all done in one day, just as they did with the original Live Aid single.
I must admit, I was nervous on the day because you’ve put all this work in and you’re wondering things like ‘is that person going to turn up?’ and ‘is this actually going to work? But on the day, it was just incredible, they played it back to us in the studio and it was ‘Wow’, this isn’t just a bit of fun, they can really sing.
We are doing this to raise money for two fantastic causes. I'm over the moon to have worked with such a talented group of people, and I feel proud and honoured to have been involved with such a fantastic project, whatever we manage to raise.
The Fire Tones boast over 40 Fire Service personnel within its ranks. During the recording, we had to move out of the studio and go on a stage to record the chorus parts.”
The single is available for purchase on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon music, with firefighters also planning to sell CDs locally.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Rob Quin, Mid and West Wales Fire Service said, “This is a wonderful initiative by our firefighters in Welshpool, which has snowballed across our Service and across to other Fire and Rescue Services.
I’m extremely proud of Mid and West Wales firefighters as our Fire and Rescue Service is amongst the highest contributors to the Fire Fighters Charity. Our firefighters and support staff are constantly fundraising to this fantastic cause, be it through traditional methods, such of hosting car washes and selling cakes, or highly ambitious projects such as The Fire Tones.
I can’t wait to hear the song, buy it and show my support to the Fire Tones, Fire Fighters Charity and Band-Aid.”