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Hallelujah” is a song written by Canadian singer Leonard Cohen, originally released on his album Various Positions (1984). Following its increased popularity after being featured in the film Shrek (2001), many other arrangements have been performed in recordings and in concert, with over 300 versions known.

When our new accompanist, Anne-Marie, joined us in January, it seemed a nice idea to ask her to suggest some songs she might like to do with the choir. I was then given quite a long list and one of the songs on that list was Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”. This was particularly pleasing as Cirencester Male Voice Choir had this in the library and we did originally learn it back in 2016 for a joint concert with a few other West of England Male Choirs.

As 4 years have since passed and quite a few new members have joined us, it seemed a good opportunity to resurrect this song and bring it back into current repertoire for 2020.

Cohen wrote around 80 draft verses for “Hallelujah”, with one writing session at the Royalton Hotel in New York where he was reduced to sitting on the floor in his underwear, banging his head on the floor. His original version, as recorded on his album Various Positions, contains several biblical references, most notably evoking the stories of Samson and Delilah from the Book of Judges (“she cut your hair”) as well as King David and Bathsheba (“you saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you”).

The TTBB version which Cirencester MVC are learning doesn’t have all 80 verses – otherwise it would need an entire concert to perform!

If you would like to come and sing this song (and others) with us then we are always open to new members. Cirencester Male Voice Choir rehearses on Monday’s at 7.30pm. Currently rehearsals take place at Cirencester Parish Church although we are shortly looking to move to the RAU. If you want to come along then please check the website for details of our next rehearsal or get in touch.