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11 May 2023, 12:05
"People need a reason to sing" – Gareth Malone
Gareth Malone is a much-loved choirmaster, whose passion for bringing the joy of choral singing to the nation has made him a star of our TV screens.
Gareth Malone is a choral conductor and broadcaster, with a deep passion for introducing people to choral singing.
During coronavirus lockdown, Malone told Classic FM that singing would be a “vital, national therapy” after many were deprived of singing for the year. Being in a choir, he urged, “helps combat loneliness and feelings of isolation”.
Malone studied drama at the University of East Anglia and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music.
He first began working with young people and community group for the London Symphony Orchestra and in 2001 he was made the Edward Heath Assistant Animateur for the ensemble.
Malone famously presented The Choir, alongside other television series including Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne. He was also one of the judges on Pitch Battle in 2017.
Read more: We played ‘would you rather’ with Gareth Malone at Classic FM Live
Gareth Malone turned 47 years old in November 2022.
He was born on 9 November 1975, to a family of Irish descent. His father James was a bank manager, and his mother Sian worked in the civil service.
Gareth is married to Becky Malone, an English teacher. The couple live together with their three children: Esther, born in 2010, Gilbert, born in 2013, and Dvora, born in 2019.
Read more: Gareth Malone – ‘Singing will be a vital, national therapy for this miserable year’
Gareth first appeared on TV in 2007 with The Choir, a series in which he took teenagers with no experience of singing and put together a choir.
The series went on to win a BAFTA and was so successful, he went on to create The Choir: Boys Don’t Sing and The Choir: Military Wives, in which he worked with wives and partners of military personnel deployed to Afghanistan.
The Military Wives Choir went on to perform at the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance and their recording of Paul Mealor’s song ‘Wherever You Are’ ended up becoming Christmas Number 1 in 2011.
Since then, Gareth has brought his love of choral singing to other TV shows – including The Choir: Sing while you work and The Choir: Gareth’s Best in Britain – and was most recently involved in a series called The Choir: Singing For Britain, helping the nation combat their lockdown blues and writing songs with NHS heroes during the coronavirus pandemic. For the latter, he received over 15,000 applications in just 48 hours.
In 2019, Malone also presented a series called The Choir: our School by the Tower in which he worked with students from Kensington Aldridge Academy, the school that was next to Grenfell Tower. His aim in the show was to use music to help students deal with the trauma of the disaster, which killed 72 people in the worst residential fire since the Second World War.
Gareth told Daily Mail’s Event Magazine that he saw a therapist every week while working with the school: “This is the first time I spoke to a psychotherapist weekly, so that I could get my own reaction to it out of the way and just be an open space for the kids to talk. I’m really glad I did that.
“As I spent more time [at the school], we laughed and they were silly. They were badly behaved. They were regular kids. Actually, I don’t think the series is about Grenfell, really. It’s about young people, their lives and aspirations and how you deal with bad things happening to you.”
He is. Alongside his new TV show, Gareth decided to launch a virtual choir series, Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus, on YouTube during lockdown, to encourage the nation to sing together during the COVID-19 lockdown.
During the series, Gareth also invited Classic FM presenters Alan Titchmarsh and Charlotte Hawkins on the show (watch below).
Great British Home Chorus | Live Rehearsal with Classic FM | Session 31 (Week 7)
Gareth Malone has released five albums – Voices: The Classical EP (2013), Voices (2013), A Great British Christmas (2016), Music for Healing (2019) and Gareth Malone’s Great British Home Chorus (2020).
Music For Healing was inspired by Malone’s work with those impacted by the Grenfell Tower fire. Its aim, Malone has said, was to express, through music, the “essential role that the natural rhythms of time play in the process of healing and restoration”.
The album was born after the choirmaster went through a number of personal challenges in 2018. As his wife was expecting their third child, his grandfather passed away – but during this time, Malone says, music-making took on a therapeutic quality.
The choirmaster and pianist performed two tracks from the album – ‘January’ and ‘December’ – at Classic FM Live in October 2019.