CHART-TOPPING choirmaster Gareth Malone really had fans Walking On Sunshine as he celebrated news of his OBE at Sheffield Doc/Fest – and turned the Crucible audience into his latest choir, writes Graham Walker.
The 37-year-old special guest was talking about his TV documentaries, which have seen him put together a choir of ordinary schoolchildren and top the pop charts with the Military Wives.
But after an hour of chat he took off his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and gave a hands-on demonstration of how he works by getting the audience to take part in an impromptu sing-a-long.
He grouped together the men and women, put them through his strict vocal warm-up routine and handed out lyric sheets, before working them on basic harmonies for the performance of their lives.
Minutes later the Gareth Malone Sheffield Doc/Fest Choir was belting out the Katrina and the Waves hit, Walking On Sunshine – log on to thestar.co.uk to see the show.
VIDEO: Press the play button to watch our video report of the performance and full chat with Gareth Malone.
“I thought they did very well for an impromptu choir. There were definitely some singers in there. “There were some plants, I think,’’ he laughed in an exclusive video chat with The Star.
“You never know what you are going to get but actually, once you say it’s all right to just get up and sing, normally people have a voice.”
Malone, who revealed his next BBC2 TV show this autumn will be called Sing While You Work, about singing in the workplace, also spoke of his joy at getting an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
He also sung the praises of Sheffield’s own Grammy award winner Eliot Kennedy who, with Take That’s Gary Barlow – another OBE recipient at the weekend – co-produced the official Diamond Jubilee song, Sing, featuring Malone’s Military Wives Choir.
“Sheffield’s favourite son Eliot Kennedy is just a great guy; a great musician and a fantastic pair of ears. He has a great musical imagination. Working with him on Sing was wonderful – Gary also. The three of us sat in that control room at Abbey Road and made the whole thing come together.”