A flashmob choir has paid a moving tribute to legendary Aussie conductor Richard Gill with stunning renditions of hits by ABBA and The Beatles in a packed-out music hall.
Hundreds of people flooded in to Sydney’s City Recital Hall as part of The Sydney Flash Mob Choir to sing ABBA’s ‘Thank You For The Music’ and The Beatles’ hit ‘Let It Be’ in memory of Gill, who passed away recently.
The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra confirmed the musical legend had passed away in a moving statement over the weekend, revealing he had died at his home in Sydney following a battle with colorectal and peritoneal cancer.
Gill had worked with the choir in the past and even appeared with them last year in the very same music hall, so they organised the last minute flashmob appearance as a fitting tribute to his life and legacy.
After announcing the gathering the day before on Facebook, the event gained huge interest from across the city almost straight away as hundreds of singers and dedicated fans arrived to perform the songs – led by conductors Sam Allchurch, Michelle Leonard and Brett Weymark.
While there were some seriously impressive harmonies towards the end of the ABBA rendition, with a few singers showing off very high vocals, the whole room came together on ‘Let it Be’ for a powerful team vocal.
Seeing the videos online, fans rushed to congratulate the group with one writing: “Its beautiful – in times of loss and sadness, music expresses these feelings so well. Richard Gill, you will be missed by so many.”
Another added: “How wonderful, a very fitting and beautiful song to farewell Richard. So sorry I couldn’t be there but I’ve been singing along to this recording. RIP Richard,” and a further message read: “It was so amazing to be a part of this morning. Thank you.”
Explaining how each flashmob works, the choir’s official website states: “You get an SMS with a date and time. You decide to come along. We bring on stage one of Australia’s many entertaining and talented conductors who picks a song for you to sing and there might just be a surprise guest.”
Gill previously led a series of the choirs in the very same hall last year, before his health deteriorated. The group’s Facebook page shared a photo of the singers crowded inside in February, as they performed a series of hits.
It comes after around 70 musicians gathered outside Gill’s home on Saturday to play one of his favourite pieces, ‘The Dam Busters March’, as a final performance before he passed away.
While Gill specialised in opera, musical theatre and choral training, he also became a huge name on TV after starring in Spicks and Specks and Q&A – promoting the lesser talked about musical styles.
He also created the government-funded National Music Teacher Mentoring Program, aiming to provide quality music education in all Australian primary schools. In 2005, he was appointed music director of Victorian Opera.