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BBC orchestra to cover Cumbria classic

The BBC Philharmonic

Calling All the Heroes by It Bites will be covered by an 80-piece BBC orchestra.

Over the past week hundreds of nominations have flooded in to find the “anthem of Cumbria”, which can be reimagined by the BBC Philharmonic.

The final winner, picked by the BBC Radio Cumbria team and orchestra musicians, will now be covered by the acclaimed ensemble, which has been playing free concerts in the North of England for nearly 100 years.

The 80-piece orchestra has just two weeks to adapt and perform the song, with each musician recording their part in their own home because of coronavirus restrictions.

Mike Zeller

BBC Radio Cumbria Breakfast presenter Mike Zeller said:  “We asked people in the area to name the song that shouted Cumbria – and the response has been incredible.

“It wasn’t an easy decision but in the end we decided that Calling All the Heroes was the right choice. The band was formed in Egremont and put the region on a global stage. The song itself was many people’s soundtrack to the ‘80s.

“Some of our listeners said it was the perfect song for the times too, with so many going the extra mile during the pandemic.

“Having it performed by the BBC Philharmonic – one of the best orchestras in the world – is going to a real treat.”

The song will be played on the Breakfast Show in two weeks’ time and will then be added to the Great Northern Playlist, a mixtape made-up of one tune from each of the North’s 10 BBC Local Radio areas. Each track is nominated by the public before being sent to the BBC Philharmonic, which comes up with its own unique version of the song.

Simon Webb, director of the BBC Philharmonic, said: “What a piece! It’s not an easy challenge but hearing Calling all the Heroes in all its glory will be very special.

“The BBC Philharmonic has been the orchestra of the North for nearly a century. It’s fantastic that we can continue serving communities and are able to be apart together.”

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