Harborough man pens tune for Rugby World Cup festival

Composer Mark Hilton of Market Harborough
Composer Mark Hilton of Market Harborough

He’s been involved in music all his life, but it’s fair to say that Mark Hilton has never tackled a rugby anthem.

That all changed after the Market Harborough-based musician and media expert was asked to put together Great Bowden’s village panto.

His impressive work as the panto’s musical director was spotted by a bigwig from the Rugby Union world.

And before he knew it, father-of-two Mark was being asked to unite the worlds of rugby and music with an original composition.

“The idea was to get children thinking about the Rugby World Cup, which comes to Britain in October this year,” explained Mark.

“There’s a lack of uptake of rugby, particularly in the city of Leicester.

“So I’ve been commissioned to write a song for about 300 Leicestershire children to sing next to a big screen that’s going up in Victoria Park in the city to show World Cup matches.”

Ten selected schools from all over the county will be sending up to 30 children each to form a choir that will sing Mark’s rugby anthem.

So did he write the music with children in mind?

“Very much so,” said Mark, who normally works for Harborough-based media company Sleepy Dog.

“It has to be reasonably simple, and within their vocal range, and they have to pick it up straight away.

“It seems to have come out well – and it’s got actions to it.”

One interesting fact about the song is that it isn’t finished yet – that’s down to the children.

Mark said: “I’ve written the choruses, but we want children to write the verses.

“Hopefully it will all come together before the concert!”

The project is being co-ordinated by Leicester-Shire Music Education Hub, based on the Guthlaxton College Campus in Wigston, Leicestershire.

Sarah Barton, the strategic development manager for the organisation, said: “The schools will learn the song over the summer term.

“They’ll be singing it over several performances at the Fun Zone in Victoria Park, where there’ll be a big screen up, showing all the big rugby games.

“But at the moment Mark’s visiting the schools.”

As for the song itself, Sarah said: “It’s based around the British rock song. It’s got an anthemic feel to it.

“And there are parts of the song where two things are going on at the same time, like singing and clapping.”

So even if you’re not a rugby fan, get to Leicester this October. When the children sing Mark’s song, we’re sure you’ll be converted!