Think of the word choir and what comes to mind?
Having been in one at school, I feel that I have some expertise on the subject and can gladly confirm that I hated every moment of my stint which lasted precisely one month before I quit. The problem wasn’t the that I disliked singing – anyone who’s been in the same house as me while I’ve been taking a shower will confirm that what I lack in vocal ability I make up for in perseverance and enthusiasm. The issue for me, as someone brought up as an atheist since the day I was born, was the religious songs, the 90 year-old teacher with the two inch thick glasses, the cold boring pole-up-the-arse kind of feel to the whole thing.
However, step forward 15 years and it appears that everything has changed, with Rock Choir, the Glee-like movement on a mission to show us that coming together and having a sing-song doesn’t have to be a religious affair and most certainly not a dull one.
Founded by Caroline Redman Lusher and led by Tom George, the organisation now boasts 8,000 members all over the UK, with tonight’s final episode of The Choir That Rocks – a documentary series that follows the organisation – focussing on the build up to the biggest gig in the choir’s history, Wembley Arena.
The choir may have succeeded in attracting a mix of ages, but the same can not be said for gender and the ensemble is dominated by ladies, with a minority of men enjoying more attention than Roger Moore would at his local post office.
This conundrum leads the founder to create a splinter all-male group to give a special secret performance of Pretty Woman at Wembley, starring Rock Choir’s Fonz-like eligible bachelor, pin up Ryan Pearson, who apparently is on the look out for a girlfriend ladies. Email ITV for details.
There’s some funny moments in tonight’s episode, with the founder showing viewers a letter sent to her complaining about her choice of raunchy music. I don’t know about you, but I never knew Diana Ross’ Chain Reaction referred to oral sex, orgasms and fondling genitals. You learn something new every day…
The rumours of a special guest at the Wembley event are also hilarious. Could it be Cliff Richard? Elton John? Madonna? Unfortunately not, and as the curtain is pulled back to none other than the opera singer from the Go Compare ads, jaws drop around the arena. However, a spine-tingling version of Nessun Dorma soon ensures that everyone is one their feet in admiration.
Yet what’s really obvious from The Choir That Rocks is the continued power of song to bring people together from all walks of life. There’s a chap who used the movement to help him get over his wife’s death, an 88 year-old woman who loves nothing more than a boogie to keep her arthritis free and a blind man who has never had so many friends. The togetherness is touching, and really quite moving in parts.