In Britain the word ‘choir’ is now almost synonymous with celebrity choir master Gareth Malone. He is so influential in this country that in 2013 he received an OBE for his incredible contribution to music and broadcasting. After nearly 10 years on our television screens producing choral orientated reality shows he has changed the perception of choirs bringing it away from traditional religious environments and rejuvenating it for the 21st century audience proving that anyone and everyone can sing. But how exactly has he managed it?
Let’s go way back to Gareth’s early life. Born in London Gareth is the son of Sian and James Malone who met each other at their local Gilbert and Sullivan Society, so perhaps music was always in his blood. He has remained in choirs all his life and has always been a keen piano player so he is clearly an expert in the genre. But we believe it goes much deeper than this.
The main reason for Gareth’s success is his passion and his personality (something he shares with our choir leaders). The way he worked with school children in ‘The Choir’ instantly struck a chord with the nation. He knows when to push groups and when to withdraw. He takes time to work with individuals to enhance overall performances. Another fantastic tactic is he selects unusual soloists who aren’t necessarily the most competent of singers and shapes them into confident, emotional and dramatic performers. It is his amenable character and patience that makes him such an icon.
Gareth has gone from strength to strength after receiving two BAFTAs for his documentary series: ‘The Choir’. In 2011 his documentary ‘Gareth Goes to Glyndebourne’ won an International Emmy Award. This led to work at the Royal Opera House where he worked alongside The Workplace Choir Company’s very own Thomas Guthrie creating a community driven professional opera. Later that year he took the enviable Christmas number one slot with ‘Wherever You Are’, an original composition compiled from letters between ‘The Military Wives Choir’ and their absent loved ones. In fact, this became one of the best selling music products of all time on amazon.co.uk. Since then he has released a cover of Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ with a celebrity choir for Children in Need 2014 and had further triumphs with TV series: The Naked Choir, The Big Choir Reunion, The Invictus Choir and Gareth’s Best in Britain.
Here at The Workplace Choir Company we love Gareth’s work ridding choral music of its stuffy perception, introducing new arrangements of contemporary classics as well as traditional choral music to expose a new generation to the best of the choral repertoire whilst modernising the art form. Gareth Malone's show 'The Choir: Sing While You Work' has done a great job of highlighting the impact a workplace choir can have within a business. The BBC2 series follows choirs in a variety of different businesses from the auditions to the final performance. (The Workplace Choir Company’s Ruairi Edwards worked as an accompanist on one series.) Along the way these groups can be seen growing together as a team, becoming more aware of each others strengths and building support networks which boosts confidence. The members create new relationships which are both beneficial to the workplace and are continued personally as they work together to achieve feats they never dreamed possible. You can watch these over on BBC iPlayer.
It is nigh-on impossible to live in the UK and not know who Gareth Malone is. Undoubtedly at some point over the last 10 years you will have watched these shows and fallen in love with the journeys travelled by the participants. Choirs are no longer reserved exclusively for the professionals, it is an experience everyone can enjoy. And this is our core belief at The Workplace Choir Company.
To learn more about the programmes we offer give us a ring on 0247 722 0159 or contact us to find out more and join this choral revolution.