July 2022 update; reposted because the clip of Kate Rusby's own singing of her charming song was leading to a dead end. It has now been replaced and is the last video shown in this article ...
Choirs can work wonders with songs created for other settings.
In St Bride's, just off Fleet Street in London and commonly known as the journalists' church, I have attended several moving memorial services for former colleagues. And I remember in particular the St Bride's choir presenting its beautiful arrangement of With or Without You as part of the commemoration of my friend David Graves, who was almost as much a fan of U2 as he was of Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The British composer, arranger, orchestrator, and singer Jim Clements has turned one of Kate Rusby's most popular songs, Underneath the Stars, into an exquisite choral piece.
His sublime arrangement has become widely known, adopted by choirs around the world, and it inspires the latest edition of our Cover Story series.
There is no strict need to compare any of the choral versions with Rusby's original as the differing approach essentially makes them two distinct songs.
But it is worth noting that the UK ensemble Voces8, which does indeed feature eight voices, has attracted 1.1 million views for a YouTube clip of a performance recorded at the Gresham Centre in London (a burst of mental arithmetic suggests Rusby's own versions add up to to about the same).
Because they are so different, I will simply invite you to enjoy both Rusby singing her song at the Cambridge Folk festival in 2005 and two choral treatments, Voces8 and one from the Western Illinois University Singers.
It is an easy job to locate others; I recall coming across choirs from South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK when I looked up the song and I know there are more.
The song has also given its name to a festival run each summer by the cottage industry that supports Rusby's musical exploits.
Tickets for the 2021 event, at Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne, bang in Rusby family territory near Barnsley, are on sale and the festival will go ahead from July 30 to Aug 1 subject to where we are then with the pandemic.
In the meantime, you can have a look at Rusby's plans for a quite different kind of performance, a streamed edition of her Hand Me Down album featuring outstanding covers of pop songs that will be online from April 10 to May 22. I wrote about it here.
My postings at Facebook about this song have prompted a good deal of discussion (at the English Folk Music group, which you must join to see, and my own pages, which you don't). Some of this is reproduced in Comments below.
Once you've explored choral versions of Underneath the Stars - or before, indeed instead, if you prefer - see what Kate Rusby does with her own song.