Gareth Malone's choir: an insider's view

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Patrick McIntyre

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Gareth Malone and PatBack in September Gareth Malone’s series The Choir: Sing While You Work headed to the Royal Mail in Bristol to set up a choir. Bringing together people from across the company, the group competed against Gareth’s three other workplace choirs to make it through to the final, to be broadcast on BBC Two this evening. We caught up with one of the tenors, postman Patrick McIntyre, to talk about what it was like to take part in the show.

Why did you decide to join the choir?
Well I’m a musician myself – I play the guitar and sing a bit so I was fairly interested. They explained the premise of the show – I’ve got to be honest, I didn’t know much of Gareth Malone’s previous work but they ran me through what he’d done and the whole thing sounded like something a little bit different to do, so I went along for an audition.

What was it like to work with Gareth, in the end?
He was fantastic – one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met – absolutely no ego whatsoever, a complete gentleman, very enthusiastic and completely passionate about his music. Every dealing I had with him was fantastic, he’s a genuinely nice guy.

Was it nerve-wracking being filmed?
It was quite good fun and I didn’t really feel the pressure until the camera came round to you and Gareth said ‘Right, sing “Postman Pat” to me’, that was quite nerve-wracking. But for the rest of the process the cameras were pretty unobtrusive, they just captured what we were doing quite naturally.

What was the most challenging part of the experience for you?
We had quite a lot of choreography to learn in the lead-up to the semi-final, and I’ve got two left feet, so that was probably the toughest part for me. But the pressure leading up to the semi-final was also quite intense, because we were all really keen to perform well. We had a lot of extra rehearsals and there was a bit of tension just because we were really keen to get it perfect.

And what did you most enjoy?
The whole experience was fantastic from start to finish. But the most enjoyable bit was probably the actual final. Stepping out in front of 3,000 or 4,000 people in North Wales was incredible.

Is the choir going to carry on?
Yes, absolutely. We’ve got various performances lined up – a couple of Royal Mail occasions, some Christmas things, lot of bits and bobs. The Royal Mail’s chosen charity this year is Prostate Cancer UK so we’re going to continue raising money for them. The guys are trying to get as many public bookings as we can and just keep raising money.

Will you be inviting friends and family round to watch the final this evening?
It’s actually, by coincidence, my partner’s birthday today, so we’re having a bit of a shindig round at her place with loads of friends and family.

The final of The Choir: Sing While You Work is on BBC Two this evening (Thursday 25 October) at 9pm and will be available to watch on iPlayer.