If this isn't the perfect example of #HelloToKindness, we don't know what is… Gareth Malone paid Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby a visit on This Morning on Wednesday to announce a huge plan to bring together both amateur and professional performers around the country to combat the struggles over the COVID-19 outbreak and 'social distancing'.
The Great British Home Chorus aims to give everyone the opportunity to contribute their voices and instruments to an ambitious digital music project, conceived in the light of many closures to communal rehearsal spaces nationwide. Gareth’s mission is to help boost morale across the country through the power of music, at a time when the general public needs it the most.
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Dame Esther Rantzen, the broadcaster and founder of the 24hr helpline The Silver Line, appeared on This Morning from her home during self-isolation, and said: "I've had an idea… we’ve got a great British product called 'Gareth Malone' – why doesn't he create a choir out of all of us…?"
Unbeknown to Esther, Gareth had arrived back in London a few hours earlier following a filming trip to Berlin which was cut short. Inspired by the videos accumulating millions of views from ordinary people under national quarantine in Italy, singing operatic anthems in full voice (and multiple harmonies), Gareth began to consider how he could help the effort back in Britain.
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Gareth said: "We have an incredibly rich tradition of community music-making in Britain, whether that be amateur choirs, youth orchestras or regional theatre companies. We now find ourselves in unprecedented times, and while we will find that in the coming weeks the lights on concert halls and rehearsal rooms will go dark, this shouldn’t mean we have to stop making music altogether."
His plan is to coach followers through the process over the coming weeks, helping those who may not yet know how to stream music or interact with communities online, and giving guidance on how to stay connected and entertained with music when many will feel very lonely and cut off from the outside world.
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Gareth will encourage people to put their hearts into rising above the bewildering confusion to create something positive, uplifting and hopeful.
"Not since the First World War and the Spanish Flu outbreak have we been forced to stop coming together physically in order to share the gift of music with one another. Whether we like it or not, this pandemic will change the way we work, the way we make music and the way we value community – why not make it be a change for the better?"
The website is now live for people to register their interest.
The famous choirmaster immediately started trending on Twitter with fans rushing to thank him for his kindness. One fan said: "My entire choir will be encouraged to do this. Many of our 100+ members are over 70. We have stopped rehearsals for the foreseeable future and they all need something to lift their spirits. So THANK YOU! #garethmalone."
Another wrote: "Musicians, dancers and all those that work in the arts have a very precarious occupation at the best of times. So I am sending this tiny sparkly [emoji] star to applaud you all."
If you're doing something lovely like Gareth - saying #HelloToKindness to others in these tricky times, please do share with the #HelloToKindness hashtag and we'd love to publish on HELLO!