City Hall backtracks on decision to deny deaf performance at carol service

National Deaf Children’s Society's signing choir in concert

National Deaf Childrens Society's signing choir in concert - Credit: Archant

In a show of Christmas spirit, City Hall has reversed its decision to block a choir for deaf children from performing at this year’s carol service in Trafalgar Square.

The Greater London Authority had been planning to deny Islington based charity the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS) from performing at the event as it relies on the use of a PA system, which it said would not fit with this year’s more traditional theme.

The GLA also wanted the group to change its song choices of Last Christmas by Wham! and All I Want For Christmas Is You by Mariah Carey as copyright issues would mean they would have to pay for them to be performed.

As the choir were unable to change their songs at the last minute, it would have meant that hundreds of deaf children hoping to enjoy the signing choir’s performance would be denied their chance to join in with the festive celebrations.

But following a public outcry, City Hall is now allowing the charity to perform at the carol concert, and has agreed to pay for a PA system,

Emma Watson, community and events executive, National Deaf Children’s Society said: “Many deaf children and young people can feel excluded from Christmas activities, such as singing carols, leaving them feeling isolated.

“The National Deaf Children’s Society’s performance raises awareness that deaf children and young people can enjoy Christmas carols as much as hearing children. By performing we are also raising vital funds for deaf children. Last year we raised over £700 for deaf children and young people in an hour.

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“The National Deaf Children’s Society is delighted to announce that its signing choir will now perform in Trafalgar Square on 12 December, provided we can source a PA system to play our background music. The GLA have agreed to our original song list, which includes the good old favourites like Wham’s Last Christmas and Mariah Carey’s, All I want for Christmas.

“We have been overwhelmed by support from MPs, London Assembly Members, organisations and members of the public.

“We really do appreciate all the support we’ve received and are looking forward to two fantastic performances.”

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said: “The Mayor had been unaware of this issue but when it was brought to his attention, he took immediate action to ensure the National Deaf Children’s Society choir is able to perform in Trafalgar Square.

“The Mayor hopes as many Londoners as possible will come along and enjoy this year’s carol singing in the Square.”

The concert takes place on December 12.

The choir will also be performing at Heal’s furniture store on Tottenham Court Road on December 5 after they stepped in to help the charity when it heard they had been taken off the bill.