top of page

CABBIE CHOIR: London taxi driver shares her experiences on stage at the King's Coronation

Updated: May 22, 2023

Image credit: Dale Forwood

The coronation of King Charles III saw a special choir consisting of hundreds of individuals from various communities and professions, including a group of London taxi drivers, come together to share their love of singing.

The choir, comprised of diverse and passionate individuals, was given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in front of royalty and millions of viewers around the world at the coronation concert in Windsor Castle.

Guiding the choirs in their final rehearsals were four celebrity mentors: Gareth Malone, Motsi Mabuse, Amanda Holden, and Rose Ayling-Ellis. With their guidance and expertise, the choirs left a lasting impression on all who witnessed their performance.

One of the cabbies singing in the choir, Dale Forwood, shared her experience of the day below:

Our first live performance was to “Sing for the King” at the live Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle, which was on Sunday 7th May 2023.

It was this historic and truly magnificent occasion which has prompted me to write my book ‘Dale’s Diaries’ about my life, which not only is it therapeutic to write things down but a lovely life journal to pass down to family and friends one day as I’ve had a very interesting life as a London taxi driver and a Supporting Artist in films and TV and a mother to 4 grown children .

We literally only formed our cabbie choir a few weeks ago by responding to a WhatsApp post. We all applied separately by sending in a video self tape of us singing “happy birthday”which was quite funny actually. Then they invited us to all meet up at a NCP car park in St.cross street EC1 London. We were given the words to sing “You can’t hurry love” by Phil Collins , “ Valarie” by Amy Winehouse and “London Calling” by The Clash . Then the 8 of us cab drivers , who were:

  • Dale Forwood (me the only girl)

  • Grant Davis

  • Gary Broughton

  • Graham Brinkhurst

  • David Hemsted

  • Hung Kee Hor

  • Mark Nolan

  • Tony Walker

Had to sing in the car park on the top floor and then to our surprise our special guest Amanda Holden turned up! It was such great fun, she was lovely , really friendly and gave us good tips and after we sang “You can’t hurry love” to her, she announced we passed the audition and we will be singing for His Majesty King Charles III. She was so nice she even complimented me on my purple blazer and she was wearing purple too . Then about a week later we had another rehearsal in the car park at the cabbie cafe at Great Suffolk street EC1 and Amanda turned up again!

Image credit: Dale Forwood

We were given the actual song we were to sing at the kings coronation concert which was “Brighter Days” by Emeli Sande. We sang this to Amanda and she rearranged us and gave us some positive feed back which was really good . Both of these occasions were filmed and they made a documentary about it which you can watch on BBC iPlayer called “Sing for the King: the search for the coronation choir” it’s only on there for 11 months but I’ve managed to record our parts and I will put it on my YouTube channel “Dale Forwood“

We had help with our singing, which we were really grateful for by voice coach Tori. We also had special help from a BSL expert to learn the sign language part of the song which was a great idea too. And the person who looked after us and organised all the rehearsals etc was BBC producer Josie Graham who was amazing. Then a week before the actual concert they very kindly offered us 10 free tickets between the 8 of us. We all decided very easily who wanted them and that was no problem apart from actually getting them was a bit of a online issue. But thank god our guests did actually get them literally the night before the concert.

We had our rehearsal at Windsor Castle when we got to meet the Choir Master himself the famous Gareth Malone who organised and coached all of the 300 choir members. It was so cool meeting Gareth Malone and he took us into a recording studio in our choir parts to record our voices to be played at the concert too. That surprisingly went really well and only took one take.

It was at this rehearsal that he informed us we are also going to sing “Never Forget” with Take That! Only 3 words mind you, which are “Never, Never, Some day” we were also taught when to dance and clap with them too and the whole audience and crowd joined in too. They put us up in the Sheraton Hotel at Heathrow airport which was very nice and meals were included and it was at this rehearsal we met Motsi Mabuse and Rose Ayling-Ellis too who were helping to mentor the other choir groups and then we got another surprise guest HRH Prince Edward and his wife Sophie Rhys-Jones turned up and we sang to them and he gave such a lovely speech to us. Things were getting better and better each day. Apart from meeting all these famous people it was so nice mixing with my fellow cab drivers while we were waiting in the holding area and in our hotel lounge area and getting to know them better. They really are a lovely mixture of the most talented , funny and caring people I’ve met and I feel like they’re my new family.

Now the concert weekend is upon us. We got the coach with other choir groups to Reading and stayed at the Pentahotel , which was very stylish. During the day we got to watch some of the other performers rehearse on stage such are Lionel Richie and Olly Murrs. We’re all dressed up now in our very smart outfits , which were pre checked by production and wearing our taxi badges with pride. We are all ecstatic with happiness that we are about to go on stage to perform our song in front of the King and the Royal family and 20,000 people live and viewed worldwide by millions. We were waiting at the bottom of the stage when King Charles and Camilla drove past in their chauffeur driven car and waved at us which was nice. The evening was going so quick. The atmosphere was ecstatic. We were very close to the stage and could see the lights of the stage and crowds and hear the performances from the side.

Then it was our turn to go on stage. We were so lucky that we got a very good position on the main stage at the front, on the right, literally just for us 8 cabbies. Our performance went so well. It felt and sounded brilliant! We all loved it and so did the crowds. We all had to bow at the end too which was awesome. The love and respect was surreal. Then we came off stage and we went straight into the VIP marquee, purely by accident or coincidence, but that was very nice. No big crowds, we all got a free drink and walked past Olly Murs. It was at this point that we all felt that we’re going to keep this choir going. The world is our oyster and this could lead to other things. Then we thought we better get back to our base holding as we need to do our final performance with Take That.

Then suddenly we’re rushing onto stage for the final song of the night which again was a perfect choice. The crowds absolutely loved it as they could join in too. It was amazing , then as soon as we came off stage our phones were going crazy with our family and friends ringing and messaging us that they’ve just seen us on TV. It actually brought tears to our eyes and big smiles on our faces and our hearts were full of love. This was truly, a very special experience, which the world greatly needed.

You can watch “The Coronation Choirs stunning performance” on Youtube and you can follow “London Cabbie Choir” on all social media platforms such as : Twitter, Instagram and Facebook where you will see some wonderful photos, stories and updates.


Subscribe to our newsletter. Receive all the latest news

Thanks for subscribing!

thumbnail_phonto (1).jpg
bottom of page