Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Choirmaster

Meet GARETH MALONE



He is THE Choirmaster and the force behind a series on BBC America called ’THE CHOIR’.



“It’s not about trying to find the next American Idol, it’s about watching regular people, children who don’t believe in themselves… and watching their stories as they encounter music for the first time.”





Apparently the series aired in the UK a year or two ago. As far as I know it has 3“cycles” as they call them.

The first is a series of episodes filmed at a lower income high school with a very limited music program. The goal was to put together a choir good enough to attend the WORLD CHOIR GAMES, commonly referred to as The Choir Olympics.

With an incredible amount of struggle Gareth got them to the games. They didn’t make it past the first round but they won so much more. The school has a much more comprehensive music program now with support from students and parents.

One of the students – the young woman pictured on the left in the photo below – transformed herself from a truant student who never spoke to anyone to a graduate who is now working with other students who need guidance.



The current cycle – ‘Boys Don’t Sing’ - just ended with The Lancaster School Choir performing at Royal Albert Hall. Gareth formed a 100 strong boy’s choir over the course of 9 months. He brought together a diverse group of boys and even got many of the staff to sing.

I really became very fond of many of the boys. There is Michael who is so earnest, so serious. On a trip to some castle he regretted not bringing his camera as – “there is so much history here, so many incredible things”.

One of the most resistant boys is the leader of the “beat box” group. They’re the tough boys, the rappers, the boys who proclaim the choir to be “too gay”. Gareth finally bridges the gap between their music and choir music. One of the most wonderful moments to me is when the leader of the beat boxers tells a friend - “I’ve learned not to judge too quickly. And I’ve learned that when someone is trying to help you, don’t act like an idiot. I can’t believe that was me. It’s not who I am anymore.”

You can view their performance at Royal Albert Hall, along with many other videos from the series HERE

The third cycle, beginning this week, is about forming a choir in a small blue collar town.

I do hope you check out some of the videos. Music is joy. It is healing.

26 comments:

Daryl said...

A younger cuter version of The Daily Show's John Oliver

Ron said...

Oh Dianne, thank you so much for sharing about this because being someone who never watches TV, I've never even heard of this show.

It sounds freakin' fabulous!

"the young woman pictured on the left in the photo below – transformed herself from a truant student who never spoke to anyone to a graduate who is now working with other students who need guidance."

Ooooo...that gave me goose bumps. The magical thing about music is that it's universal. It can move beyond any language, and any culture.

"Music is joy. It is healing."

You said it, dear lady!

X to you and the gang!

Kay Dennison said...

I love this!!! How inspiring!!!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What an inspiration! And thanks for the links. We don't have DishTV anymore and BBC is the one channel I really miss.

Jeff B said...

This is a refreshing take on a reality show. I personally can't stand American Idol because of the "It's all about me!" aspect of it.

Sound like this one is more about a grass roots approach at building self esteem and a sense of value in these kids. Bravo!

Arkansas Patti said...

The beat boxer's revelation was wonderful and alone would make the show worthwhile.

Dianne said...

daryl - he is! I have a crush on him, especially when he's conducting - he's so alive and engaged

ron - that young woman and the rapper kid really touched my heart
hugs Uncle Ron

kay - thanks, I love it too

sallie - I'm so glad you explored the links, it really is a show worth seeing

jeff - building self esteem is exactly it
rather than mocking and being mean spirited
I hate AI and most of the other shows as well

patti - that kid had such a turn around!! it made me teary

Trisha said...

This sounds like a very interesting show. I will have to see if I can find it on my service and DVR an episode or two . . .

Pagan Sphinx said...

Maybe there is hope for talent/reality shows after all. I may just check it out. Sounds uplifting.

Pagan Sphinx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reb said...

That looks like a great series. I'll have to see if it's on BBC Canada yet. The beat box kids were great! I've been in a choir, and that feeling after a concert can't be beat.

Vinny "Bond" Marini said...

Music IS Joy...indeed!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh...This is SOOOO Great! Inspirational. The Power of Music to transform....It can change so many things.
Thanks so much Dianne, for bringing this to all of us. I was unaware of this stunning program....I'm hooked now!
I know what Music has meant to me in my life---and THIS is just more proof of what Music can do---anywhere and everywhere.

Mare said...

I will have to check it out! I also have never heard of it!! Thanks for passing along a good thing.

Matt-Man said...

Thanks for the info and the suggestion Di. Cheers!!

Little Tikes Car Bed said...

It's refreshing to know it's different than the American Idol. To be able to make a difference to youngsters' lives certainly make it a worthwhile effort.

fermicat said...

I don't really like this type of show, but when I see the commercials for it on BBCA I want to watch. He seems like an amazing guy who brings out the best in people.

Hilary said...

Oh Daryl is right.. he so does look like John Oliver. I might try to catch this online sometime.. thanks for the heads up.

Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Thanks for sharing this Diane. I'm on it now!
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Scott Oglesby said...

Sounds like an interesting show Dianne, I might have to check this one out.

The last shot looks like they are Lost. God I wish they could do this show from that island!

Linda said...

I've heard of this show and seen it advertised on BBCA but I just never got around to actually watching it. Shame on me, it seems that I've missed out on something quite good. I should amend that!

Jinksy said...

I'm glad to see you praising the talents of this young man. His enthusiasm is so infectious, and singing is a wonderful way for people from all walks of life to come together in harmony. Long may he continue!

Frank Baron said...

What a treat to see the (formerly) jaded kids' eyes light up!

Sounds like a heart-warming series. Thanks for the heads-up, Dianne. :)

jabblog said...

He is a joy to watch, isn't he? He's inspirational.

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jeannette said...

Thanks for this inspiring story! And for visiting my blog (midweek blues)!