“Sing it louder, sing it clearer, knowing everyone will hear you, make some noise, find your voice tonight” – Gary Barlow’s famous hit certainly made some noise when performed by a massed group of approximately 400 young and 100 adult members of Girlguiding Cumbria South in their “Big Sing” event recently. The young people ranged in age from 5-years-old in the Rainbows, via Brownies, Guides and to young women up to 25 years old in the Senior Section.
Getting 500 people under one roof in South Cumbria can create a transport nightmare, and so Girlguiding Cumbria South came up with an innovative solution, a first for the organisation in this county: they opted for five different venues and hooked them up using good broadband and the “appear in” app. Thus each group, in the Furness Academy in Barrow, St Mary’s School in Dalton in Furness, Stramongate School in Kendal, Croftlands School in Ulverston and St Mary’s Church in Windermere could see, on big screens, and hear all the other participants.
The event took 10 months to prepare but all participants judged it a huge success. “Wow, what a good time we had! The girls loved seeing the different locations and waving to everybody else. It was worth all the effort and sleepless nights, we really were “One Voice” said Karen Bateson, one of the organisers for the Lakes Division.
“Such a joy to spend time singing and sharing good times when the world is not. The Barrow lot had a great time and loved seeing everyone else. When County Commissioner Sue Gudgeon welcomed us there was wonder and amazement all round and the girls loved it. It really felt like we were all together. Go technology!!” enthused Maf Servante Haddow, at the Barrow venue, who was both one of the organisers and wrote a song especially for the event.
And when some of the girls felt that “the Guides have gone viral” that might not have been technically quite accurate but reflected the Wow factor of the occasion.
Girlguiding Cumbria South are already thinking of the next such event and hope to go even bigger, across the whole of Cumbria or even further afield. Technology will make it possible.