The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is nothing if not unpredictable, as I found out whilst standing next to the signing table of Cerys Matthews today.
“What’s happening?” I asked one of the crowd of children who had all of a sudden surrounded me in the Waterstones book tent, “Are you going to sing?”
“Are you all singing?” I asked.
“Yes! We’re a flash mob!” whispered one.
“We’re like agents!”
“I see!” I replied, and with that the tent was filled with seventy voices belting out a re-imagined classic.
Pupils Blake Penwarden and Lucy Ord had rewritten the words to “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” as “I’d Like to Teach the World to Read” – with a little help from their musical mums – and the school had concocted a plan to perform in front of the Hook, Line and Singer author.
Matthews was visibly shocked when the seventy strong choir struck up their song, complete with harmonies and actions. “I know the man who wrote the original” she told the children after they received a fantastic round of applause, “and I like your lyrics better.”
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