New musical arrangement performed by Singing Hands with dancers from The Orpheus Centre
Singing Hands presents a first ever dance and Makaton collaboration
To celebrate the first #MakatonAwareness day, here is a very special video that Singing Hands has put together in collaboration with their friends The Orpheus Centre. The Orpheus Centre is an independent specialist college in Surrey, UK, for young disabled adults with a passion for the performing arts and was established by musician and songwriter Sir Richard Stillgoe.
The incredibly talented dance majors in this footage created the choreography to our cover of Rainbow Connection (a Muppet Film classic) with the support of their dance teachers. They styled their own outfits and decided on the locations around the college site for the shoot.
Note: A fully subtitled version is available on Singing Hands YouTube channel (which also includes the lyrics and Makaton sign transcription too)
To find out more about Makaton Awareness day, please click here
About Singing Hands
Suzanne and Tracy are both parents of disabled young adults who were their inspiration for setting up Singing Hands 20 years ago. Since then they have created an indispensible catalogue of DVDs and online videos, and run wonderful music classes and groups for children using Makaton sign language. In January 2021 Suzanne and Tracy were awarded MBEs for Services to Children and Young People. James Hawkins Music has been helping to arrange and record songs with them since 2014 and all agree that this is their fave song so far!
Rainbow Connection arrangement & production
As the UK nation was coming out of the Covid lockdowns, we started thinking about songs that would mark the journey we had all been through. When Singing Hands suggested Rainbow Connection, I knew it would be something special, so I said I wanted to produce it. It’s a surprisingly underplayed song – there aren’t many versions out there – but the lyrical context and sheer beautiy of the melody is infused with emotion.
We set about the arrangement heading towards a Disneyesque feel, with sweeping strings, magical vocals in the Singing Hands style and a gentle atmosphere of happiness.
I took a long time to carefully craft the arrangement and the vocal layers to get the feel we wanted. It was a special project and a labour of love, which I hope you can sense when you hear the song. When you add in the dance by the young people from The Orpheus Centre in the video, only the hardest heart would fail to be moved. Well done team. You’ve really pulled it off!