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Songs of Praise to feature church mission worker’s Christmas carol re-mix

The BBC's Songs of Praise is set to feature a special Christmas carol rap arranged by a Carlisle church mission worker.

Last December Andy Dykes remixed the traditional Christmas carol 'O Come, O come Emmanuel', which had thousands of hits on online.

Researchers on the BBC1 show saw it and a few weeks ago contacted him to ask if he had another Christmas special planned.

Now Andy and a group of friends have collaborated on a version of 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'. A Songs of Praise crew are due to film with them later this month.

Andy, aged 23, said: “I got a call from one of the researchers on the programme to say they had seen last year's arrangement and were keen to know if we were doing the same again.

“We had a think about what we could do and decided on 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'. You need to take care when choosing which carol will work. You can't take a carol which is too bright and cheery as that clashes with the rap element.

“But the most important thing is that we wanted a carol which had a clear Christmas and Christian message, and that's what we've got.”

The new work will again feature a mix of traditional and modern music styles in the arrangement.

Choristers from Carlisle Cathedral will feature on the track as well as rap sections which Andy will perform.

The track has already been recorded and the associated video – which was partly shot at Carlisle Train Station and in the city centre – is currently being edited.

Andy who is a Young Adult Mission Worker for The Way Church in Carlisle, believes the fuse of musical styles will help open up the Christmas message to new people.

He said: “Songs of Praise said they were keen to film with us and the choristers at the Cathedral because they like the idea of the mix of traditional and modern music in the arrangement.

“We're thrilled to be asked to take part and hope the new arrangement proves to be as successful as last year's. At the end of the day our primary aim is to get the Christmas message out there to as many people as we can in a way that makes it accessible for all audiences.”

He has again collaborated with lyricist and producer Jon Wilcox, a past winner of 'Young Poet of the Year'.

The Rev Matthew Firth, chaplain to the University of Cumbria and leader of The Way Church, said: “Last year's arrangement proved tremendously popular and the message was not compromised at all. That's the same this time around too.

“We're thrilled to have been contacted by the BBC and that the filming is to take place. It will help highlight the great work that is ongoing within this city to reach out to people in faith in new ways.”

The film is scheduled to be broadcast on BBC1's Songs of Praise on Sunday 7 December, 2014.



Notes for editors

The Way Church was created in 2013 and is aimed at young adults in Carlisle. It meets at various venues across the city on a Wednesday evening – after student dinners – and on Sunday evenings.

Regular meetings are held at Our Lady and St Joseph's Waterton Hall and at the University of Cumbria's Fusehill Street campus chapel.



For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07984 927434, 01228 560079 or at


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