Former city schoolboy brings G4 to Chichester Cathedral for the first time

The great G4 resurgence continues apace as they bring their Christmas by Candlelight tour to West Sussex for the group's first-ever performance at Chichester Cathedral on December 8.


It’s a venue two of the vocal quartet know well. For former Chichester schoolboy Jonathan Ansell, it’s very much home turf. For Mike Christie, it’s a date which will bring back many happy memories of his time as a chorister nearby.

“I was a chorister for five years (in Reigate), and we often used to tour around, and Chichester was probably the place we performed more than any other. I think I must have performed there maybe a dozen times. But this is our debut there for G4. We did a Christmas tour last year, and when we were looking to extend some dates this year, this was top of the list for the personal connection that both I and Jonathan have.”

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It’s also, quite simply, a wonderful place to sing: “It has got a really beautiful acoustic. I am just really excited about going back. In my senior school (Ardingly College where he was a music scholar), I also sang there a couple of times.

“I can’t really even begin to get my head around the age of the building and the history of the building and all the people that have gone through those doors over the centuries.

“When we do the theatres around the country, we have amplification. But the Christmas tour is so different. It is really like stepping back and going back to our roots as choristers and going back to our roots where we met at the Guildhall. We are really wanting to use the beauty of the building. You don’t need any scenery or backdrops. But also we are wanting to use the acoustic beauty of the building.

“In some ways, the cathedral tour is harder going for us, though. On the main tour, we use microphones, and you can whisper and it will be heard. But with the cathedrals, it is all acoustic. We are our own amplification, and it means you sing in quite a different style. We are all classically trained, and we use our own natural acoustic as vocalists.”

It will be very much a Christmas show: “It’s really about getting people into the Christmas spirit. We will be offering a variety. We will sing Silent Night and we will also sing some Christmas medleys. We have enjoyed mashing up different tunes, but there is also one very important song we will be singing, Bring Him Home from Les Mis.”

The tour comes in association with Missing People and their Home For Christmas appeal, and the song ties in beautifully. Mike doubts there will be a dry eye in the house when they deliver it.

For G4, it’s all part of the huge success they have enjoyed since getting back together: “The gap was seven years, which is quite incredible. We had an amazing career together, certainly after X Factor. But ultimately the problem was that we were doing G4 24/7, and it was the four of us together absolutely all the time. We were all individuals and wanted to do our own projects, and so we went our separate ways. We didn’t think that we would ever get back together again. We had just had such an amazing time, and we decided to move on. But then it was coming up to the tenth anniversary since being on X Factor. I just rang the guys and said ‘Why don’t we just do a one-off to celebrate the anniversary?’”

And so it happened.

On November 17 2014, G4 reunited at London’s Barbican Centre to celebrate ten years since the talent show. The success was huge. They straightaway had to reconsider the One Night Only aspect of the show. A reunion tour followed last year, then the Christmas tour, then another tour this year and now the second Christmas tour.

And the great thing is that it is different now. The fun is back. “It was a big risk for us, getting back together, but the support the show got just completely overwhelmed us. And everything has just gone from strength to strength ever since. In our Back for Good tour, we wanted to show that we were back for good. It was unhealthy as it was before, but now it’s not 24/7 G4. We have still got our solo projects and other interests. We have got the balance back, and it is great fun again. We are having a great time.”

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