Monday 10th November 2014
Gareth Malone is at it again. Like us, he loves nothing more than getting people to sing in schools, communities and workplaces, and now he has now formed a choir of 12 celebrities to sing the official single for this year’s Children in Need - a cover of Avicii’s Wake Me Up .
His efforts have been documented in the BBC mini-series Gareth’s All Star Choir, which concludes tonight on BBC1. Last week's episode saw the team of celebs (which is made up of comedian and presenter Mel Giedroyc, Blue Peter front man Radzi Chinyanganya and dancer/choreographer Craig Revel-Horwood, amongst others), being put through their harmonic paces and learning choral discipline at great speed. In spite of Gareth’s worries and doubts about their vocal quality, a pressure we know only too well from singing with hundreds of non-professional singers on a regular basis, the celebrities worked hard and began to make a decent sound together by the end of episode 1.
Brought in to ably assist the adults were singers from the Young People's Theatre at London’s Blue Elephant Theatre, a project funded by BBC Children in Need. The theatre does transformative work in an area of social and economic deprivation with its young participants benefiting from free drama activities, theatre trips, including going to the West End, and opportunities to showcase their work all over London, all of which works to build confidence and raise aspirations. I have also had the pleasure of working at the Blue Elephant, and with some of these young singers, leading songwriting and singing sessions, and can vouch for the effect the arts have on their lives and the local community.
That’s what makes the 'all star choir' project tick - it embodies the power of the arts. Two Children in Need case studies during the programme showed music’s therapeutic value in addition to treating a young boy’s illness and helping a girl deal with the grief of her father’s death. It occurred to me that Gareth needn't have worried about the quality of the finished product because, in cases such as this, it’s not about good singing, but about how singing makes you feel good.
Tune in tonight at 9pm on BBC1 to see how it all concludes!
Buy the single from iTunes here!