Like a Rainbow Shining – Will Todd (1970-present)

I was first introduced to the work of Will Todd in the summer of 2019 when the Manchester Chorale began rehearsing his “Mass in Blue”. It’s an incredible suite of sacred jazz music, which was performed by the Chorale in St Margaret’s on Saturday 14 March 2020. The church was packed, and everyone – audience, band and singers alike – thoroughly enjoyed the music. Little did we know it would be 24 weeks and 4 days until anyone would sing in our church again.

Like our own Maggie’s Music group, Manchester Chorale kept meeting each week via Zoom throughout lockdown to rehearse our repertoire. Many of us have a soft spot for Will Todd, following a workshop he did with us back in October 2019, to prepare for our “Mass in Blue” performances. Soon enough, one of the Choralers spotted an announcement on Will’s website that he had written a piece for lockdown – free to access, record and publish online. He wrote:

A friend of mine asked recently if I could write a song of hope. Its definitely challenging right now in the middle of 2020 not to feel disconnected, anxious and concerned about the future.

Taking inspiration from the trend of painting rainbows and putting them in windows as a sign of a hopeful future, “Like A Rainbow Shining” is a song for singers everywhere to enjoy and perform.  I’m grateful to singers from all over the world who helped make the first virtual choir version of this song.

The sheet music is available as a free download in SATB, Unison/SA, SSAA and SAB arrangements. There is also access to the backing and learning tracks and I encourage choirs and groups to make their own virtual versions of the song or plan to perform it when you next get the chance.

Wishing singers, musicians and music directors world-wide all the best and with hope for the future.

Will Todd April 2020

The text is:

  • Paint me a rainbow
  • And hang it at your window
  • And always remember
  • Together we are stronger
  • Together we are kinder
  • Together we have colours.
  • Friend to a stranger
  • Remembering our neighbour
  • And then like a rainbow
  • Together we are shining
  • Together like a rainbow
  • Together we are shining.
  • Shining, shining, shining
  • Shining
  • Like a rainbow we will shine
  • Though I can’t hold you
  • I know I’ll see your face again
  • My heart is in readiness
  • To clothe you in my love
  • And then like a rainbow
  • Together we are shining
  • We are shining
  • Together we are shining
  • Like a rainbow we will shine.
  • Together like a rainbow
  • Together we are shining.

Manchester Chorale was quick off the mark to record this as a ‘virtual choir’, and you can see the recording here. We’re all in rainbow colours, and we all have headphones or earbuds, as that is how we hear the accompaniment; we then recorded ourselves singing with our phones. It was then over to two Choralers, one to synch our audio recordings and create a ‘master’ track of all of us together, and another to get creative with the videos.

Maggie’s Music Makers have spent much of the summer learning this song and are currently in the process of recording themselves singing. Our ‘virtual choir’ video will be included as part of our Harvest Praise on Sunday 4 October at 4pm. Our wonderful singing ladies used their phones to video themselves singing whilst listening to Tom playing the accompaniment through headphones or earbuds. As I write, the process of merging all the audio and video tracks is underway, but no link for you to click on yet!

Hopefully it will not be too much longer until we can sing this for you in church, in person.

Carol P

EDIT: You can watch the service of Harvest Praise here, and Maggie’s version of “Like a Rainbow Shining” here.

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