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Gareth Malone to bring together isolated singers with home choir

The choirmaster is launching a digital project where people can submit their recordings.

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Gareth Malone (Ian West/PA)

Gareth Malone (Ian West/PA)

Gareth Malone (Ian West/PA)

Gareth Malone is launching a digital music project to allow people to sing together while they are social distancing during the coronavirus outbreak.

The choirmaster and composer will bring together amateur and professional performers around the country for The Great British Home Chorus.

He told the PA news agency: “What I’m trying to do is do something where we can get regular people in their houses, with their families, singing.

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Gareth Malone conducting the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (Matt Crossick/PA)

“And get professional musicians to support that so they have got something to do as well, and create something that sums up how we feel about the situation and that raises our spirits.

“We can’t all work from home, we can’t all carry on with our projects, so it feels right to do something.”

Malone said he was inspired after Dame Esther Rantzen appeared on ITV’s This Morning, saying: “I’ve had an idea… we’ve got a great British product called Gareth Malone – why doesn’t he create a choir out of all of us?”

He added he will set up a centralised place where people can send in their recordings before they are set to music.

Dame Esther Rantzen comments
Dame Esther Rantzen (Ian West/PA)

He said: “We are at a very early stage of this. I’ve spoken to Steve Lipson, who has just produced the Billie Eilish Bond record, and he is up for being involved.

“He and I worked on the All Star Choir a few years ago and took singers with not that much vocal potential and we made a number one record, so we feel like we can do something where everyone can feed in their bit and we will make something of it.

“I think initially that is going to be getting some tracks out and getting people to sing along from their houses, upload things and we can start gluing things together.

“One of the big problems at the moment is that although the technology is incredible for having a chat, it’s not quite there yet for people just to sit in their house and have rehearsal because there is this thing called latency, where there is a slight delay on the line.

“It doesn’t matter if we are chatting, but if you try to clap in time with someone down the phone, the lag means everyone slows down to try to get in time together and the whole thing falls apart.

“But I do have a plan up my sleeve to get around that so we can do some live things that involve lots of people at the same time.”

He continued: “It’s very difficult at the moment. I think people want to carry on, it’s a very human reaction to a problem like this – ‘Come on, we’ll keep going, strength through adversity, Blitz spirit’, but we can’t, you can’t tough this out, it doesn’t work like that, and I think that is really difficult for people.

“When we had the Blitz we all got together in an Underground and sang songs together. Well, we can’t do that, we are not allowed to see each other.

“The one thing we need when we are really frightened is human contact, so that is one thing that singing can do, make you feel part of something.”

PA Media