600 guitarists from The Florrie are coming together to play huge St George’s Hall gig
6 days ago
Six hundred guitarists of all ages and abilities are coming together for a huge one-off gig at St George’s Hall in June.
The Big Guitar-In will be made up of past and present members of the community guitar group from The Florrie in L8 plus special guests from across Liverpool and the rest of the UK.
It’ll be by far the biggest performance the group has ever done and Timo Tierney from Tea Street Band, who runs the weekly sessions, says it’ll be a memorable one.
“We’ll have people who may never have played in public, who might not have played with another guitarist or another musician before, or who may just know two chords, and that’s all fine,” he says. “And if they can’t play the chords perfectly, that doesn’t matter either because the person next to them might be able to.
“There’ll be 600 guitarists, the Sense of Sound choir, three musicians on stage and three guest singers who I’ve not announced yet, and again this could be their first opportunity to sing in front of an audience.
“It’s all about giving people a chance to do something that’s out of their comfort zone and something they’ll hopefully remember for the rest of their lives.”
Timo, who’s a Community Hub Co-ordinator at The Florrie, started running the weekly Tuesday night guitar sessions seven years ago.
The aim was not just to teach technique and chords, but to create a community and help tackle isolation.
Since then he’s taught into the high hundreds, ranging in age from four years old to players in their 80s and 90s.
Classes usually get around 50 or 60 attending, but Timo says the idea for The Big Guitar-In came after they had almost 200 for an event back in April.
“People turned up and couldn’t get in because we didn’t have enough seats and the whole point of the Florrie is being inclusive so I hate turning anyone away. I thought, why don’t we go even bigger and do St George’s Hall?
“Now we’re doing 600 and we’ve still got a waiting list of 140 who want to come along, and we’re getting inundated with messages from people all over the country wanting to travel up and join in so we could have done 1,000.
“Most of the guitarists will have been to our Tuesday sessions, including a son, his mum and her dad who come to the class so we’ll have three generations. But we’ve also got people travelling from Glasgow, a family from Wales, and two lads from Dublin coming over who are going to borrow two guitars when they get here.”
Just 100 will be able to watch live – those tickets, raising money for The Florrie, got snapped up within 20 minutes – so for once the band will outnumber the audience 6-1!
Timo says he’s been working closely with St George’s Hall to accommodate what is an unusual performance even for them.
“I don’t think they’ve ever had to do this kind of lay-out before but they’ve been great, helping me out with the organisation of everything.
“Instead of there being rows of 15 seats we’ll have rows of 10 to allow space for the guitars, there are 24 rows on each side so that’s 480 seats and another 12 rows that they’ve managed to fit in so that makes the 600.
“Then we’ll have 100 spectators standing around the sides, sharing what’s going to be a really special moment.”
The 600 acoustic guitarists will play three songs twice, first as a rehearsal and then the actual performance which The Florrie is planning to video.
Those three will be Save the Last Dance, Stand By Me and All you Need is Love, and they’ll be getting the chords sent out on Monday.
“But I don’t want people to rehearse too much because they don’t need to be perfect,” adds Timo. “It’s all about everyone coming together on the evening and it’s going to be fantastic, I can’t wait.”