Gareth Malone chats to Yours

Set for a new tour, choir­mas­ter ex­traor­di­naire Gareth Malone tells Yours about the value of friend­ship, good man­ners and the im­por­tance of fam­ily ties

YOURS (UK) - - Contents -

Grab chances

I’ve al­ways been the type of per­son who says yes to a new op­por­tu­nity. I will give it a try. In 2008, I was work­ing for the LSO (the Lon­don Sym­phony Or­ches­tra) when I got a call from a pro­duc­tion com­pany ask­ing if I would be in­ter­ested in be­ing on tele­vi­sion. In that sec­ond, I had a flash for­ward and was on the red car­pet! I’d done a drama de­gree and was in­ter­ested in pre­sent­ing and per­form­ing but it was still a big leap of faith and I could have eas­ily fallen flat on my face. But thank­fully not. The pro­gramme, The Choir, won two BAFTAs.

Value friends

I work in an in­dus­try where it is easy to get your head turned and I like to make new friends but my old friends have kept me grounded. Some have known me since I was at pri­mary school in Bournemouth. I try to carve out time for them. I have even writ­ten a new song, a duet, about friend­ship called Weather the Storm. I met my wife (teacher Becky) be­fore I started on tele­vi­sion, too. When I hear peo­ple de­scrib­ing me as the ‘celebrity choir­mas­ter’, the idea is so bizarre to me. I just don’t feel fa­mous.

Father­hood is life-chang­ing

Hav­ing my two chil­dren, Es­ther and Gil­bert (now aged seven and four-anda-half ) made me grow up and re­alise that there was more to life than crotch­ets. I just had my daugh­ter when I pulled to­gether the first Mil­i­tary Wives choir and for the first time, felt like I was like an adult walk­ing into that re­hearsal room. Un­til then I felt that ev­ery­one else was an adult and I was just play­ing at it. My chil­dren are now of an age when I can in­tro­duce them to mu­sic which is exciting. Ours was al­ways go­ing to be a sing­ing house­hold!

Man­ners mat­ter

I like to be cour­te­ous with ev­ery­one I work with. I try to be firm but fair. I was brought up like that. My mum was al­ways very clear and con­sis­tent and I had def­i­nite bound­aries. With pets, chil­dren and choirs, you need ex­actly the same thing. Al­ways ex­pect the best, and hope­fully you won’t be let down. If you ex­pect peo­ple to fail, then they’ll fail.

Sing­ing is good for you

It’s joy­ful and def­i­nitely been proven that your heart rate slows down and goes in time with the peo­ple around you when you’re sing­ing in a choir. It’s also very good for men­tal health; that feel­ing of one­ness that you have with other peo­ple. It’s in your head and in your body; that ac­tual phys­i­cal re­ac­tion to sing­ing is very pos­i­tive.

Fam­ily ties are the most im­por­tant

I’m an only child and very close to my par­ents (Jamie and Sian). They al­ways come to ev­ery night of my con­cert tours and have been so proud of my ca­reer. I’m very lucky. I’m al­ways grate­ful that my par­ents dragged me to pi­ano lessons ev­ery week dur­ing my teen years when I was a lit­tle more re­luc­tant. If I’m tired or over-wrought, I just go to the pi­ano. It’s a stress re­lease for me and a priv­i­lege. I don’t ever wake up and feel: Oh no, I’ve got to do some mu­sic to­day.

Gareth with his wife, Becky

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