Rod Stewart signs up the talents of Warrington British Sign Language Choir

Warrington Guardian: Warrington's signing choir is made up of deaf and hearing members Warrington's signing choir is made up of deaf and hearing members

HE is one of the most influential singers having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Now Rod Stewart is joining forces with Warrington’s British Sign Language Signing Choir to help change people’s perceptions of the deaf and hard of hearing.

The choir is joining the music legend on stage at Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road ground on Friday, June 20.

They will sign along with Rod to one of his greatest hits but the song is being kept under wraps before the concert.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” said Jeanette Hughes, choir organiser.

“It’s blown us away that he’s letting us go on stage with him in front of about 17,000 people to work our magic. It will be amazing.”

The choir found out about the concert in March and have been practicing since.

There are almost 40 members in the group and they are all volunteers – some deaf and some hearing.

On the night they will be led by Penny Spiers.

“We’re so excited,” added Jeanette, from Penketh.

“We do a lot of concerts in the area as we want to raise awareness of the deaf community “There are many deaf people who attend concerts as they can feel the beats and vibrations.

“But it can be such an isolating disability. There are a wealth of words and stories out there, which if you are deaf you miss out on, which is why I'm so passionate about signing.

“Bigger concerts like this help us raise deaf awareness magnificently.”

It is not the choir’s first major performance as they have signed for other stars in the past and even for the Queen at Orford Park during her Jubilee celebrations.

Jeanette said: “Obviously your adrenaline is going but you’re so busy concentrating on signing that it happens so fast.

“The atmosphere is amazing at concerts and it’s the look on people’s faces that makes it worth it.

“They see how interesting signing to music is. A lot of people don’t know we exist before they see us and afterwards they come up to us to find out more about what we do.”

Warrington British Sign Language Signing Choir meet every fortnight at Warrington Deaf Centre in Wilson Patten Street.

The group reformed in 2011 with Peter Morley, who is deaf, as choir director.

Many of the original deaf members returned from when it was first formed 20 years ago.

They have several annual engagements in the town including the beer festival at Parr Hall and deaf awareness concerts at Golden Square and Walton Gardens.

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