Gig review: Gareth Malone – Voices tour, Edinburgh

Gareth Malone leads the voices tour

Gareth Malone leads the voices tour

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The country’s love affair with choirs has to a large extent been fuelled by choral animateur, singer and presenter par excellence Gareth Malone. On tour with Voices, made up of 16 hugely talented young singers, Malone not only held the rapt attention of a packed Usher Hall but had them joining in with many of the songs on this eclectic programme.

Gareth Malone: Voices tour - Usher Hall, Edinburgh

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Arrangements ranged from Fleetwood Mac’s Go your Own Way to the Fleet Foxes’ White Winter Hymnal and The Byrd’s 17th-century Justorum Animae to Bridge Over Troubled Water reworked as a spiritual. Assistant musical director, Michael Higgins, was on hand to play keyboards, but for the most part the singers were unaccompanied, or provided their own backing by beatboxing through a “looping” machine.

Highlights included Paul Mealor’s Wherever You Are, written for the Military Wives Choir, and Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal along with Gary Barlow’s exquisite Sing which beautifully articulates the joy of singing.

Malone generously shared the spotlight with Voices, all fabulous soloists in their own right. Harriet Syndercombe Court gave an edgy version of Lorde’s Royals, with bass beatboxing by Aberdonian David Ferguson while Naomi Banks delivered a moving version of Ólafur Arnalds’ theme from the Broadchurch TV series.

Meanwhile, Frankie, who was plucked from the audience to sing Stand by Me on stage, after first ensuring her moment in the limelight was recorded for online posterity, received a standing ovation. Her performance encapsulates the secret of Malone’s success: his amazing ability to get anyone to sing.

Seen on 31.05,14

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