Sixteen lovely members of Spinnaker Chorus have taken part in Gareth Malone’s new series “The Naked Choir” BBC 2 Tuesdays 9pm. The series follows Gareth’s quest to find the best “a cappella” choir in the country.

Spinnaker Chorus with Gareth Malone

Being huge Gareth fans, we applied to the show and were thrilled to be invited along for an audition. We had two to three weeks to prepare our audition song from a list of 12 songs provided by Gareth’s team. Wow it was hectic but we eagerly went along to the audition in London, strutted our stuff and sang our hearts out. Shortly afterwards we received the fantastic news that we were chosen out of 300 groups audioned to be in Gareth’s final 8. What an amazing achievement, we could hardly contain our excitement.

Filming of the series took place during Spring/Summer and started when we met Gareth for the first time. This is when he gave us our first challenge, we had to learn and perfect a song of his choice. This song was “Simply the Best” by Tina Turner. (Julia Wallis our lead section leader showed Gareth her rather impressive “Tina”impression at this point, see it in the first episode!) Then 3 weeks later we would perform it in front of a live audience and a jury.

Jenny our MD set to work on our song immediately and after much hard work and a few sleepless nights produced an amazing arrangement. Over the next few weeks we rehearsed and rehearsed with the production team filming us, which was very nerve racking. Gareth came to visit and mentor us during this time and was so lovely he even brought us a cake, he had obviously done his research well as Spinnaker ladies adore cake! He took us out of our comfort zone with his suggestions for improvisation, something we aren’t used to doing in Barbershop singing. We designed our costumes with the help of our wardrobe lady Gillian Woods and practised choreography to enhance our performance.

Show day arrived all too soon, once again back up to London. The day started off with a photo shoot for TV magazines and lots of interviews. Then followed some stage rehearsal time and final preparations before our actual performance later in the day.

There was a fantastic atmosphere that day, the theatre was buzzing with nervous excitement and anticipation of what the contest would bring. It was finally our time to perform and we proudly walked out onto the darkened stage, then the lights went up as we heard them introduce ‘Spinnaker Chorus”  our show personalities kicked in. We sang our song brilliantly, our harmonies rang out in the theatre beautifully. The audience were really supportive and it was fabulous seeing so many members of our chorus sitting in the front rows cheering and clapping. Our song finished and we came off stage with beaming faces happy that we had done our best and we were proud of our performance.

After the other groups had performed the Jury retired to deliberate. That seemed like the longest period of time waiting but eventually we were all called back on stage for the verdict.

Waiting nervously together Spinnaker held hands whilst spotlights shone and cameras whirled around us. Sadly we didn’t go through to the next round, our “Naked Choir” experience had come to an end despite fantastic comments from the Jury. We were obviously disappointed to leave as we had worked extremely hard to get that far.

However our memories of our experience in the series will stay with us forever. We made many friends throughout the process and would especially like to thank the production team “Twenty Twenty” for everything they did for us and for keeping us going during some very exhausting filming periods, they treated us like celebrities.

Our main aim taking part in this series was to positively promote ladies’ barbershop singing. There is so much enjoyment, fun and friendship to be found in choirs and the skills and confidence to be gained from singing is immeasurable. If our appearing in Gareth’s show encourages women to seek out and join a choir then our mission is complete.

Thank you Gareth Malone and “The Naked Choir” the Spinnaker Chorus 16 had a blast.

The Spinnaker 16