The Choir: Unsung Town

TWO
Tuesday 1 September 2009
BBC Two

Gareth Malone has proved that singing can take a group of kids who had never sung before all the way to the Choir Olympics. He has proved that boys can sing, take pride in it, and perform at the Royal Albert Hall. But can singing lift the spirits of an entire community?

South Oxhey is a sprawling housing estate, just outside Watford. Now home to over 12,000 people it was built after World War Two to provide housing for working-class Londoners who’d lost their homes during the Blitz. When Gareth arrives, South Oxhey has no tradition of singing beyond pub karaoke, but Gareth makes it his mission to turn the area into a centre of choral excellence. He wants to draw in people from every section of the community, from children to OAPs, and create one vast choir that will truly represent South Oxhey and at last give the area a voice.

This time, Gareth faces a new set of challenges. Already adept at dealing with unruly teenagers he now has to convince adults with longer-held and deeper prejudices about choirs that they should be singing. And he has to find a way to transmit the choir bug to primary school children whose main experience of singing is The X-Factor. But will South Oxhey take singing to its heart?

Gareth forms a choir and take them on an extraordinary journey and a fascinating set of local characters emerges. Many become deeply engaged in his choral project. His final challenge is to put on a major performance in South Oxhey itself, and invite the whole estate to the party.

South Oxhey’s Legacy

After the cameras stopped rolling, the show was not over! The South Oxhey Community Choir and the South Oxhey Youth Choir continued singing and now perform regularly in Hertfordshire and at some of London’s top venues, with Gareth Malone as their musical director. Find out about their next concerts or find out about joining at www.southoxheychoirs.org.


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