Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Choir

BBC iPlayer - The Choir: Unsung Town: Episode 3: "Choirmaster Gareth Malone has started two successful choirs, for adults and children, in the housing estate of South Oxhey, but he believes they won't become 'real' choirs until they can perform technically challenging classical music, and sing in Latin. So he arranges for both his choirs to sing at concert performances alongside highly accomplished musicians in front of demanding audiences.

"At first, many members in his choir feel it's impossible for a new choir, most of whom cannot even read music, to perform at this level. Some threaten to leave. Will Gareth be able to convince his singers that they can match his aspirations?"

Broadcast on: BBC Two, 9:00pm Tuesday 15th September 2009
Duration: 60 minutes
Available until: 9:59pm Tuesday 6th October 2009

Watch this, where he takes the South Oxhey children's choir that he's setup in the local primary schools to Merchant Taylors private school. It's the secret world of privilege in England where the Merchant Taylors school, in addition to a hall that can stage a huge concert has 400 250 acres around it - "almost the size of South Oxhey". This is a great series and Gareth Malone is a hero. You can see the other episodes on catch-up. Last week's was one of those touching, make-you-weep ones with the kids trying to live up to his expectations. This one is more of a social documentary. Get a load of the boxer's mates, and contrast them with Gareth who is the same age group (as he notes). He is as different as if he had stepped out of Stephen Spielberg's giant spaceship in Close Encounters. Two different species. Interesting.

Here's a bit from last week's Episode 2:

Hallelujah! I can suspend my disbelief in the premise that everybody in South Oxhey needs to be rescued from some sort of dismal slough of despond because actually - it may be true. Hold on to the fact that the choirmaster from Merchant Taylors school said the South Oxhey primary school choir were "better than his lot". I know nothing about South Oxhey other than that the producers of this program have (in effect) dubbed it a hole for the purposes of this series. I'm not going to start blathering on about everything, I'm just having a "funny half hour" as my mam says.



BottleGuru said...

A pretty good review (although I should point out that you've given us 150 acres of extra space in your article).

You may be interested to know that the program sparked some controversy within the school, both at Richard Hobson's dismissal of the MTS choir, and at the fact that twenty20 (the production company) edited out the sound of the Merchant Taylors School Choir. The childrens' choir, I assure you, has not been dubbed on.

The chorister at the back left of the main MTS choir.

BottleGuru said...

Oh, and there's a video of it on youtube at

Ossian said...

Thanks. I'll edit to incorporate your correction and link.