BBC’s new hit show The Choir documents choirmaster Gareth Malone’s mission to bring beautiful singing to some of England’s most unlikely candidates.
Malone believes that everyone should sing. Sing alone, sing in a group, sing with your community- however you choose to do it, singing is vital. He is eager to impart his sentiments on adults and children everywhere he goes.
Gareth travels to schools, staying there for the equivalent of a school year, about nine months, and works with the students and staff to create both a youth choir and an adult choir. He uses the adult choirs as leverage, especially for the boys. When the young men see that their burly sports coach or manly math teacher is singing in the choir, their walls come down just a bit, and their minds become more open to the idea of singing not just being for women.
The Choir isn’t what you might think. When one hears the term “choir,” they often envision men and women singing in a loft wearing colorful robes. This is not your average choir, however. Gareth chooses both traditional ballads and billboard hits for his students. During one practice, Malone asked the students to sing, “Hard Day’s Night” by the Beatles.
Gareth is patient, kind, and a wonderful teacher. He speaks to the children respectfully, gives them great encouragement, and teaches them without them really knowing they’re being taught. At the end of every episode, the people with whom he’s worked have great respect for him, an the students he has transformed don’t want him to leave.
The Choir leaves the audience with a warm feeling. Gareth’s charm and wisdom make audiences fall in love with him. The children’s offhanded comments are often very witty and funny. The stories of the students and families are sometimes touching. For many of these students, behavior is an issue in one way or another. One girl suffered from school related anxieties. Another young man had some discipline issues at school. Both children were able to bask in the glory of singing solos at their school’s concert, and both children received tearful praise from their mothers.
The Choir might seem at first glance to be silly, but give it a chance. You’ll soon find yourself falling in love with Gareth and the people whose lives he touches. Most claim that they can’t think of anything in their lives that’s been better than singing in the choir with Gareth as their choirmaster. Some say they don’t think they’ll ever have an experience that tops it in their lives. I can say myself, with confidence, that watching this show is one experience that will be difficult to top.