This U.S. premiere, BAFTA award-winning series, has spellbound UK audiences and created an unlikely reality star in choirmaster Gareth Malone as he attempts to recruit a choir in the most unlikely of settings. From schools with no tradition of music to blue collar neighborhoods in need of a community focus, Malone is a man on a mission. It’s an emotional journey of shocks and surprises, challenges and rewards with heartwarming results. The 13 episode season of The Choir premieres in Spring 2010 on BBC AMERICA.
From hit TV singing contest shows, to musical based films and television series to millions of downloaded songs – singers are front and center. It could be said singing is everywhere, but where are the choirs? Classically trained Gareth Malone embarks on a groundbreaking journey to save the choir and prove it’s cool to sing together. Malone dives deep into the community’s culture discovering where classical music stopped and what will ignite these people to be inspired to unite and sing.
“Bringing people together for a common purpose and singing some of the most beautiful music that’s ever been written – I think everyone should have access to that,” says Gareth Malone. His three projects on this mission will challenge him to create choirs capable of performing at the world’s biggest singing competition – the World Choir Games in China, Britain’s acclaimed Royal Albert Hall and at a choral festival staged by Malone with hopes of attracting thousands of spectators to the struggling town of South Oxhey.
The first project begins when Gareth finds a school ready to let him try to turn his dream into a reality. Here he must start the first choir in Northolt High School’s history, and in only nine months transform 25 novice singers into a choir capable of competing at The Choir Games in China. Has he bitten off more than he can chew? For student Chloe Sullivan, whose shyness has caused her to have disciplinary problems, Gareth’s ability to pinpoint her issue and his refusal to give up on her, proves this is a life changing venture. But will this group of students, many with records of truancy, underachievement and very raw singing abilities, overcome the odds and secure a place in the world competition?
Gareth’s next project leads him to Lancaster School, a large boys-only school where singing is a dirty word and even teachers are challenging his campaign to build a choir. The school has no real tradition of music and no formal choir. The kids have grown up listening to R&B and rap – worlds apart from Gareth’s classical upbringing, but he hopes to prove that singing is fun and can have a positive impact on their lives. Over two semesters, Gareth battles entrenched attitudes of both students and faculty, embraces a group of beatboxing boys, attempts to inspire a naturally talented teenager, Imran Siddique, whose antics threaten more than his future as a singer, and build a 100-strong choir good enough to perform at the Royal Albert Hall.
On his final project, Gareth attempts to prove that beyond his ability to teach a group of kids to sing, he can lift the spirits of the entire community of South Oxhey. The town is struggling to shake off a poor reputation that stretches back decades. Here, with the help of members of the local boxing club, he builds both adult and children’s choirs and then realizes his overall vision for a single, grand South Oxhey choir. As a culmination of his nine-month project, Gareth decides to stage a choral festival in South Oxhey, which he hopes will attract an audience of thousands from the surrounding area. Has his choir helped change peoples’ perception of South Oxhey and has he finally convinced the town to value their new choir?
“What I really love about choir is it’s a great team effort. You work so intensively with that group and you’ll carry that experience and piece of music with you for the rest of your life,” says Gareth Malone.
At the heart of this series are people’s journeys overcoming fear, ripping down barriers and uniting to build something greater than they ever could have imagined.