Citigroup pitches for a Christmas number one

Sixteen London-based employees are releasing a single on iTunes – their very own bid for the Christmas number one – swapping basis points for beats with the aim of raising as much cash as possible for the Richard House Children’s Hospice in East London, managed by Citi’s charity of the year.

In collaboration with members of London-wide community choir ‘Singology’, the group – which includes a bond trader, an in-house occupational therapist and several members of the legal department – has recorded a version of R&B and soul act Shalamar’s 1987 hit ‘A Night to Remember’ at the King’s College Theatre. They say it will ready to download from December 2.

While the bid for a Christmas number one is a first for Citi, the bank’s musical efforts have a history.

In 2013, more than 350 Citi employees applied for 150 audition spots to gain a place in a 22-strong choir that participated in a popular BBC TV show called “The Choir”.

At the time, James Bardrick, head of Citi UK – one of the main champions of the musical endeavour and a tenor in the choir – said that there were “a few raised eyebrows” at the bank’s decision to participate in the very public competition.

But he also said that it “tapped into the real need our people have to feel good about what they do”.

Back then, the Citi singers narrowly missed out on the title of workplace choir of the year — they were beaten by a group of vocalists from cross-Channel ferry service provider P&O — but they went on to perform in a slew of renowned venues, including St. James’ Palace and New York’s iconic Cipriani restaurant.

Their repertoire now ranges from jazzy a capella pieces to classical numbers.

UK head Bardrick is still a fully-fledged member of the choir, but did not take part in this year’s recording session.

But while the cause is worthy and the enthusiasm from the choir members palpable, competition for scoring a Yuletide number 1 is fierce.

According to The Guardian, comedian James Corden is tipped by some to nab the top spot with his soundtrack for retailer Sainsbury’s seasonal advert.

Others in the running include a political campaign song by supporters of Jeremy Corbyn and a version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.

Bridget Kennedy, a managing director in Citi’s finance department and a 28-year veteran of the bank, said: “Our main aim is to make as much money for the charity as possible.”

She added: “Beyond that, who knows what could happen?”

• A version of this article appeared on WSJ City, a made-for-mobile app that combines the best of the Wall Street Journal and Financial News, tailored for an audience in the City of London. Download here

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