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Gareth Malone to bring together self-isolating singers for home choir project

Caroline Allen
Contributor
The digital choir will help people who are social distancing and self isolating. (Getty Images)

Gareth Malone is putting together a home choir project for people who aren’t able to leave their homes due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The choirmaster and composer has considered people up and down the country who are social distancing or self-isolating as a result of the pandemic.

It will bring together amateur and professional performers around the country for The Great British Home Chorus.

His aim is to get “regular people in their houses” singing with their families, Malone told the PA news agency.

“And get professional musicians to support that so they have got something to do as well, and create something that sums up how we feel about the situation and that raises our spirits.”

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“We can’t all work from home, we can’t all carry on with our projects, so it feels right to do something.” Malone announced.

Singing is known to give people a much-needed boost. It’s known to lower cortisol, which relieves stress and tension.

A number of studies have shown that when people sing, they release endorphins - just like when we exercise - which in turn boosts our moods and simultaneously decreases anxiety levels.

It also releases oxytocin, which is responsible for feelings of bonding, improvements in cases of depression and feelings of loneliness.

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He felt inspired after Dame Esther Rantzen suggested the idea on This Morning. She said: “We’ve got a great British product called Gareth Malone – why doesn’t he create a choir out of all of us?”

He’s setting up a central location for people to send through their recordings before they’re set to music.

Although the project is in the early stages, Malone has already spoken to Steve Lipson - who was responsible for Billie Eilish’s James Bond song - and he will be getting involved.

“He and I worked on the All Star Choir a few years ago and took singers with not that much vocal potential and we made a number one record, so we feel like we can do something where everyone can feed in their bit and we will make something of it.

“I think initially that is going to be getting some tracks out and getting people to sing along from their houses, upload things and we can start gluing things together.”

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In the pre-plans, one of the problems he has come across is the technology available for people to sing into.

He explained that while it’s great to have a chat on, it’s “not quite there yet” in terms of blasting out a ballad.

“There is this thing called latency, where there is a slight delay on the line.

“It doesn’t matter if we are chatting, but if you try to clap in time with someone down the phone, the lag means everyone slows down to try to get in time together and the whole thing falls apart.”

Despite this setback, Malone announced he had a “plan up his sleeve” to make the process work.

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“It’s very difficult at the moment. I think people want to carry on, it’s a very human reaction to a problem like this – ‘Come on, we’ll keep going, strength through adversity, Blitz spirit’, but we can’t, you can’t tough this out, it doesn’t work like that, and I think that is really difficult for people.” He added.

“The one thing we need when we are really frightened is human contact, so that is one thing that singing can do, make you feel part of something.”