A RETIRED schoolteacher from Solihull has teamed up with Birmingham Conservatoire as they join the race for the Christmas number one while highlighting the particular struggles faced by those affected by dementia over the festive period.
Birmingham-born Alan Stott has written a big band song ‘What Are We Gonna Do For Christmas?’ with an arrangement by Birmingham Conservatoire fourth year BMus Jazz student, Josh Tagg.
Jazz students from across all years of study also perform on the track.
The song was officially released on November 22 and is currently sitting at number one in the Official UK iTunes Top 40 Jazz Chart.
Recorded and produced at Birmingham Conservatoire by Matthew O’Malley, with support from technician Minos Koutedakis, ‘What Are We Gonna Do For Christmas?’ boasts vocals from professional singers Simon Dorey and Michelle Lawson.
Sixteen pupils from Haslucks Green Junior School in Shirley – where Alan taught for eight years – also feature on the song.
Together, they are known as the Giving Is Easy Big Band and they hope to raise £25,000 for the Alzheimer’s Society.
Speaking about the song and the race for Christmas number one, Alan said: “Several years ago, I watched, helpless, like so many of us, as my mother slipped into Alzheimer’s and dementia.
“Not only is Christmas when I most miss her, my mother’s passing brought back many sad memories of visiting other elderly relatives at Christmas, and remembering how they struggled so much while everybody else was celebrating and having a good time.
“I knew then that I wanted to do something poignant, not only to raise money to help dementia sufferers like my mother, but also to raise awareness of the thousands up and down the country who don’t see Christmas with the same joy as the rest of us because of their condition.”
The track is accompanied by an evocative video depicting an elderly couple dancing and was filmed in Leamington Spa’s art-deco The Assembly.
The song itself was performed for the first time live on its release day at the installation ceremony for Birmingham City University’s new Chancellor, Sir Lenny Henry, in front of a prestigious audience at Birmingham Town Hall.
Alan, a musician for over 50 years, said the song itself was inspired by something we all do every year.
He added: “It’s essentially a dialogue between a couple making plans for the Christmas period.
“It’s something we can all relate to; around September we all turn our attention to the Festive season and ask: ‘What are we going to do for Christmas?’ It’s on its way.
“I said to my family ‘Somebody ought to write a song with that title’ and so I set about writing it on my grandson’s keyboard – there and then. The melody was completed in less than 30 minutes.
“That was over two years ago and I am incredibly thankful for all the hard work, enthusiasm and talent at Birmingham Conservatoire that has truly brought my song to life, and I just hope the public enjoy the song as much as I do.”
* Giving Is Easy Big Band – ‘What Are We Gonna Do For Christmas?’ is out now on and available to download via iTunes and Amazon.
You can also make a donation via Alan Stott’s JustGiving webpage.