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Spotlight on… God’s Jukebox

Only the best. As chosen by you.

This year, we are asking you to nominate one song – and the reason you’ve picked it. The most moving, heartfelt, meaningful memories of why this song or artist speaks to you – the occasion, the whys and wherefores for a particular melody – the person, or time, or thing in your life that this song reminds you of – or has helped you navigate… these are the criteria we are using to create our God’s Jukebox playlist.

The entries that raise the most goosebumps will have their song arranged for our 47-piece symphony orchestra in new and surprising ways and performed by surprise guests; creating a democratic megamix to melt the soul.

Click HERE to nominate your song.

And now we give you, God’s Jukebox programmer Ben De Vere.

What has been your fave moment over the years of the utterly fantastic Wilderness Orchestra Sundays?

The very first show we did was very special. The Atrium at that point was a just little stretch-tent with the orchestra all on the floor, in and around the audience, very low-key and intimate. And the atmosphere was just gorgeous. I’ll never forget seeing how many of the players were in tears by the end of the show due to the reaction they were getting from the crowd. To have a response you’d expect from a rock show at a classical concert was something many of them had never experienced. The whooping and cheering and singing along. It was beautiful. 

If you were picking a tune for God’s Jukebox what would it be and why?

I can’t tell you because I plan to pick it clandestinely under a pseudonym and don’t want to spoil it. But it’s a song that we’ve wanted to do since we first started and it’s going to reduce me to floods of tears. 

Dream collab for God’s Jukebox dead or alive?? 

Thom Yorke, hands down. The first proper tribute show we did was Radiohead, with Camille O’Sullivan on vocals. Her rendition of Motion Picture Soundtrack just killed me. Laura Mvula’s Nina Simone set would be hard to beat, but Thom doing a song from a similarly unique but very different voice like a Louis Armstrong or a Billie Holiday would be really interesting. There’s a lot of jazz underlying his work, so I’d like to think he’d be up for it.

Anything to add?

Just to thank all the players that have torn the roof off for us every year, and of course our inimitable arranger & conductor Ewan Campbell without whom this wouldn’t happen. It was really hard to choose an artist to celebrate this year, but I think that with the God’s Jukebox concept we might have cracked something that can be repeated, and it could become a new tradition. We’ve done our film music show three times now, it’s timeless. So I can see us letting these two shows take turns one after the other, maybe forever. And a nice early-afternoon show for families is something we’d like to continue too. You can’t beat a bit of Disney on a Sunday.