Gareth Malone

Exeter student groups sing for Gareth Malone’s nationwide TV talent hunt

Gareth Malone’s televised hunt for the UK’s most entertaining amateur singing group will see two popular a cappella groups at the University of Exeter battle it out for tonal triumph.  

All-male group Semi-Toned and female singers Sweet Nothings will appear in episode three of the BBC Two series The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain, on at 9pm Tuesday November 15.

The episode will see both groups perform for Gareth when the nation’s favourite choir masters tours the South in his mission to scour the country to find Britain’s most entertaining amateur choir.

Both groups have a strong following, not least within the University, which has a strong a capella scene. The University of Exeter Students’ Guild boasts an active A Cappella Society, made up of eight student groups.

Emily Labrum, Business manager of Sweet Nothings, said: "I never imagined that pursuing my passion for singing at university would allow me the chance to meet Gareth Malone and appear on “The Choir” with Sweet Nothings. Filming at the University for “The Choir” was an unforgettable experience, not least because singing in front of Gareth was nerve-wracking. I’m excited for students of the University and wider community to watch “The Choir” next week and I really hope that our experience inspires others to join societies; you never know what opportunities may come your way!"

Semi-Toned singer Henry Edwards said: “We're really excited to be involved in this show. It was an absolute pleasure working with Gareth, who gave us plenty of tips. We don’t often have the opportunity to work with someone so musically talented, so it was a really useful and memorable experience. It's been fantastic to have the additional support of the Students' Guild and the University for our first TV appearance, and also for our other projects like the USA tour and Edinburgh Fringe performances. We really enjoyed singing for Gareth, and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed partaking.”

Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “We’re very proud of our musical talent at Exeter, and both of these groups are superb. I can’t wait to see the show and I’d encourage everyone to tune in for what I’m sure will be a gripping show.”

Having crowned the nation’s most entertaining amateur a cappella group in last year’s hugely successful The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone, this year Gareth is opening up his contest to groups from all musical traditions.

Gareth Malone said: “I’m thrilled to bring a fresh search for the musical rough diamonds among the British public to BBC Two. Having discovered the best a cappella groups the nation has to offer last year, this series goes one step further, pitting groups from all types of music head to head.”

Gareth will audition a diverse mix of groups and choirs in towns, cities and villages across the country, before selecting four to go head-to-head in the contest stages of the series, each representing a different part of the U.K.

He will work with the four handpicked groups, offering his expert guidance, advice and encouragement, before they perform in front of a live audience and a jury of musical experts, who’ll vote on which choir they found most entertaining. In the semi-final, the choir with the fewest votes will be eliminated.

In the grand final, the three choirs left standing will compete to receive the most votes from the invited jury. Vocal prowess alone won’t secure the title – the competition will be fierce and groups must find the extra entertainment factor to secure victory. The choir who emerges triumphant in the grand final will receive the honorary title of Britain’s most entertaining amateur choir.

Gareth Malone has won two BAFTAs, an International Emmy Award and numerous other accolades for his previous series, and he was awarded an OBE for his services to music in 2012. He has quickly become a national treasure thanks to his ability to nurture otherwise hidden musical talent from a broad demographic of the British public. In 2011, the singers Gareth brought together in The Choir: Military Wives secured the UK’s Christmas number one, with the single Where You Are. His most recent series, Gareth’s Invictus Choir - following his efforts to assemble and mentor a choir of wounded ex-service personnel for a performance at the opening of The Invictus Games - drew widespread acclaim.

Date: 11 November 2016

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