Astrid Jorgensen, founder and director of Brisbane’s Pub Choir, is used to receiving fan mail about covers of hit songs by the largely amateur choir – but when she was told on Thursday that Kate Bush was in the running for her Hill’s rendition, they had to call him, run short in the morning and go straight home.
“My manager called me and said, you have to go home, Kate Bush has emailed. I ran straight behind — I was literally running up that hill,” she laughs.
“Dear Brisbane Pub Choir,” the message began. “I’ve been so busy that I’ve only had a chance to see all of you singing Ruth. This is totally amazing! I love it! Thanks to all of you. You sing it so beautifully. I am incredibly impressed by your warmth and all your smiling faces. Thank You!”
It was signed: “With much love, Kate.”
“It’s very wild,” Jorgensen says. “She’s the biggest artist in the world right now, so she says she was impressed by our performance, yes, it’s a pinnacle.”
The Pub Choir, a communal amateur choir that works on the ethos that everyone can sing (especially after a pint or two), performed Running Up the Hill two weeks earlier in Brisbane. Some 1,600 people gathered for the No. 1 hit, which has returned to music charts around the world thanks to its appearance on the latest season of Stranger Things.
Jorgensen and his team had requested licenses with Bush’s publishers a while back to cover the song, and “the response we got was pretty good, ‘Good luck—we’ll ask, but maybe a different song plan’. can make’.
Ten days before the show, Bush gave permission. “Even that was a big deal, an idea he took for granted.” And on Thursday, its publishers got in touch to broadcast Bush’s message.
Jorgensen, who arranges the music performed by the Pub Choir, can sometimes “feel a little cursed by the songs we cover, because I’ve had to think about it so much that I’d rather not hear it a bit again. But I just fell in love with Running Up the Hill more and more every time I dig in, it’s so complex and unique. So it’s great, so cool to be allowed to start over, then Recognize that we did it right.”
“I don’t think the younger generation is adopting her music in an ironic way – they just really like it. That’s what has kept her in people’s lives all the time, it’s a really weird, ethereal, beautiful quality. Running Up the Hill is a little more complex and layered than the average pub rock song that we usually do. It was a challenging night but the audience did amazing work – they always do.”
Jorgensen expected that everyone who arrived that night would see the email. “It’s a great day, and it’s great for everyone who comes along – they often get these real, average voices and they’re getting this big ticking from the cast themselves. That’s the point of the show: everyone. can make music.”