Monday, July 12, 2010

The Choir (television show BBC America)

Once upon a time summer was a time when television channels simply put on reruns. Getting wise to the actual viewing habits of viewers many channels, especially cable networks have started having new seasons of shows start during the summer as well as premiere new show altogether. One of the greatest from this summer television season is The Choir.

The Choir is a labeled by some as a “reality show” but it is much more a true documentary. BBC packaged this award-winning series for American audiences this summer and this week premiered the first episode of this 13 episode season on BBC America (Wednesdays at 10pm).

BBC America is one of the best television channels on cable. It’s not just Dr. Who episodes people. The Graham Norton Show is hilarious, I love Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare and BBC World News America is regularly puts America’s news programs to shame with their unbiased converge of world wide events and their high level of journalist integrity.

Here’s the set up. Gareth Malone a 30 year old choir director is convinced that he can start a high school choir and get them ready for the “choir Olympics in China.” He chooses Northolt High School to continue his mission to bring music to everyone and provide a choral experience that he believes should be universal.

The first episode showed Gareth auditioning students and teaching them “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” to record an audition recording to see if they could make it to this choir competition in China.

Gareth Malone actually knows what he’s talking about. While Diana and I don’t agree with everything he is doing as a choir director it is clear that he knows what he is the real deal.  At the first rehearsal, the choir sounds awful and the recording that make at the end of the episode does not sound like something from Glee. It’s still rough but it shows remarkable progress and this shows commitment to showing us the true reality of what it means to make music is eye-opening and inspiring.

So many times, this show could have went for cheap laughs and cheap drama. There was a portion of the episode where Gareth listens to students audition and the show could have gone the humorous American Idol auditions route but the refused to. Gareth’s response made us see the courage in what they were doing even if they weren't very good.

Singing in a choir is one of the amazing things you can do in your life and I wish that all of you can understand what it means. The Choir captures a small part of this. This show is about the love not only of music but also of being human and sharing the beauty of life together. 

If you've been in a choir, you'll love this show and if you haven't it will open your eyes to one of the greatest experience you can have in life and make you wish you could be in a choir.

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