AN Essex-based choir brought funk to the O2 arena with synth-pop superstars.

Concert goers were thrilled when the Funky Voices choir joined hit duo Erasure for the finale of their headline London show.

The 80s band is best known for its global smash hits such as Stop, Sometimes, and A Little Respect.

The act welcomed the choir onstage to perform Oh L’Amour and A Little Respect to a 19,000-strong audience.

The choir’s performance was kept a surprise from the fans who welcomed the singers with cheers.

The two acts are “old friends” and have collaborated on Funky Voices’ 2015 single Stop - a medley of Erasure hits for the BBC Children In Need appeal.

Charity work is common for this choir, with its founder and musical director Sandra Colston organising a free NHS Choir and many fundraisers throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

It was during the second lockdown when Sandra announced to Funky Voices, which has a branch in Witham, they’d been invited to join Erasure on their penultimate leg of their Neon tour.

This announcement gave all the singers something amazing to look forward to while live rehearsals and concerts were still a long way off.

Sandra said: “Seeing their faces and reactions online when I told them the news was one of the best nights we had, there were lots of happy tears.”

The award-winning musical director was asked by Erasure to organise the two songs for the choir.

The finale collaboration performance couldn’t have gone better with Funky Voices even took the last word singing ‘Give a little respect to me’ followed by a massive confetti canon burst.

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Speaking afterwards, Sandra added: “I can’t put into words how proud and thrilled I am of the choir.

“This was as much of a dream for me as it was for them and they nailed a stellar performance alongside one of the greatest pop acts this country has ever produced.

“I and all of our choir are so grateful to Andy and Vince for this opportunity to continue our great relationship with them.

“This was the most special of nights and will remain with us for a very long time indeed.”

After the duo act left the stage, the choir performers remained to wave goodbye to the audience, not wanting the night to end.

A Funky Voices member said: “One dreams of such things as a young person, but reality sets in as you get older and while still being a fan, you buy the records and go to the gigs, but you know that you’ll never be them - the people on the stage.

“Tonight, though, we were them, and it’s proof you should always hold on to your dreams, because sometimes, just sometimes, they really do come true.”

The funky singers were met with “endless requests” for selfies from Erasure fans in the audience after the performance, and shared their stories with them.

Braintree and Witham Times: Singers from the Funky Voices choirSingers from the Funky Voices choir

Sandra says the reaction on social media was also “glowingly enthusiastic”.

Another choir singer added: “Seeing all those joyful faces in the audience was truly inspirational, and having the opportunity to perform at such an iconic venue where so many legends of the music industry have gone before was an amazing privilege.

“The whole day, and the build up have been a life-enhancing experience.”

Funky Voices will be performing at community events across Essex, Suffolk and London in the run-up to Christmas, with an extra special arena show at Charter Hall in Colchester on December 12.

The choir was founded and launched in 2007 by Sandra to meet a need for a new choir who sing modern music which can be enjoyed by everyone.

No audition and no experience is needed, the act is open to all new singers to join.

For more information, visit the website