International Staff Songsters appear on BBC One's Songs of Praise

BBC One's Songs of Praise features members of the International Staff Songsters.​ 

The International Staff Songsters sang an arrangement of the well-known hymn H​ere is Love during the Songs of Praise episode broadcast on BBC One Sunday 16 August 2020 during a feature on Trentham Gardens. We also recorded three other songs used in a programme broadcast on 23 August 2020 about The Salvation Army.

International Staff Songsters at Trentham Gardens
International Staff Songsters during filming of four songs for two episodes of BBC One's Songs of Praise at Trentham Gardens

Due to social distancing rules, only 13 members of the normally 30-strong ISS were allowed to be filmed by the Songs of Praise team when singing their four hymns. The Songsters were not allowed to actually sing, but had to 'mime' to tracks from their recordings while they were stood two metres apart from each other in the grounds of Trentham Gardens. 

Find out more on the BBC website ​ 

Sunday 23 August​: feature on The Salvation Army

The life-changing work and mission of The Salvation Army was the subject of a special episode of the programme originally broadcast Sunday 23 August 2020 on BBC One at 1:15pm and available to watch again on BBC iPlayer in the UK. ​

Contents include a feature on Salvation Army officer Lieutenant Daniel Holland who returned to nursing in the NHS working on a Covid-19 ward during the pandemic and about how the Hadleigh Farm Estate, where many of the interviews were filmed, has adapted and responded since lockdown by providing a food distribution centre for corps in south Essex.  

Rev Kate Bottley and Hadleigh Trainee Songs of Praise

During the episode, presenter Reverend Kate Bottley meets Estate Director Ciaran Egan who explains how in 1891 William Booth established a pioneering social programme at Hadleigh Farm to empower people living in poverty and experiencing long term unemployment. Reverend Kate then meets Hadleigh trainee Anthony on a break from working on the Estate allotment. Anthony tells Reverend Kate: "If it wasn't for The Salvation Army and coming to Hadleigh Farm, I would be sitting at home bored." 

At the end of a full day of filming and interviews at Hadleigh, Reverend Kate meets members of the community timbrel outreach group Timbreltastic, led by Salvationist Zena Osterberg of Hadleigh Temple. Zena explains how Timbreltastic is The Salvation Army’s unique fusion of traditional tambourine playing and contemporary dance exercise which is open to all.  

Zena tells Reverend Kate: "My aim is to help people have fun and leave with a smile on their face." Reverend Kate then joined the group in a lively performance of I've got that Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart, which left everyone with a smile on their face! 


The International Staff Songsters provide three songs - Breathe, Make a Joyful Noise and Sing and Rejoice - in the 23 August episode in​ recognition of their 40th anniversary of music-making this year. Leader Dorothy Nancekievill and alto singer Lesley Nicholson, who is also a prison-chaplain for The Salvation Army, are interviewed by former presenter JB Gill at William Booth College.​

Also included in the programme are two congregational songs recorded in 2015 at Sale Salvation Army; Strength will rise and For the beauty of the earth. 

Songs of Praise presenter J B Gill with ISS members Lesley and Dorothy
​Songs of Praise presenter JB Gill at William Booth College with ISS singer Lesley Nicholson and ISS Songster Leader Dorothy Nancekievill

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