Celebrity choirmaster comes to Barnstaple

Joseph Bulmer

Gareth Malone conducts a choral performance in Barnstaple Pannier Market by military wives from Chivenor during filming for new BBC2 series of The Choir.

CELEBRITY choirmaster Gareth Malone caused a stir at Barnstaple Pannier market this morning (Thursday) as he conducted a performance by military wives from Chivenor, being filmed for a new series of BBC 2’s The Choir.

He has spent the past six weeks training the wives and girlfriends of RMB Chivenor troops to sing as a choir for the fourth series of his popular show.

It has been formed by women connected to 24 Commando Engineer Regiment, the Commando Logistic Regiment and RAF 22 Squadron.

For many it is an emotional time, with their loved ones currently serving in Afghanistan and the show – scheduled for broadcast in the autumn - will follow them through rehearsals and up to the troops’ homecoming after their six month deployment.

Hundreds packed into the market to hear the ladies, who may have been nervous in their first ever public performance, but nonetheless managed to skilfully deliver three popular songs.

These were Sweet Child of Mine by Guns ‘n’ Roses, the Bob Dylan song Make You Feel My Love, recently covered by Adele and Say a Little Prayer by Dionne Warwick.

Children from Southmead Primary School, many of whom have parents serving at RMB Chivenor, also sang the popular classic Spread a Little Happiness as their proud mums in the choir looked on.

As a grand finale and to the delight of the crowd the ladies went on to perform twice more, repeating two of their earlier songs.

The BAFTA award winning series of The Choir became a hit in 2006 when Gareth taught choral singing to students at a comprehensive school.