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The Choir That Rocks, ITV1 | reviews, news & interviews

The Choir That Rocks, ITV1

The Choir That Rocks, ITV1

Fluffy documentary about the feel-good singing phenomenon

Rock Choir supremo Caroline Redman Lusher: 'Members need to fall in love with their choir leader'

Created in 2005 by its director Caroline Redman Lusher, the Rock Choir has become something of a populist phenomenon. It’s a “people’s choir”, which means the songbook leans more towards Robbie Williams than Vaughan Williams. Anyone is welcome to join. There are no auditions and no talent requirements, a fact which will scarcely surprise viewers who last night witnessed the Bristol Rock Choir inflicting a very vocal form of GBH on ABBA's “Waterloo”.

Created in 2005 by its director Caroline Redman Lusher, the Rock Choir has become something of a populist phenomenon. It’s a “people’s choir”, which means the songbook leans more towards Robbie Williams than Vaughan Williams. Anyone is welcome to join. There are no auditions and no talent requirements, a fact which will scarcely surprise viewers who last night witnessed the Bristol Rock Choir inflicting a very vocal form of GBH on ABBA's “Waterloo”.

Quite a few seemed unable to carry a tune in a bucket but that didn’t appear to matter

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Omg a case of the glass always being empty! Have you so little in your life that you can't celebrate fun and success!!

I watched The Choir that Rocks on ITV 16/6/11 and was so dissapointed ,it's a great idea but why focus on a tro of pensioners who cant sing and the movements belong to an old peoples home. Why does the organiser think that anyone over 35 should not want to sing more modern songs. I was actually interested in joining this choir but the program made me feel I would be joining The Golden Hour Club.

If I were you Alf I would give it a go. I did and I love it. The songs are great and the feeling is amazing. The programme did focus on the older members but there is a complete age range in the choir. Surely you're not too cool just to have fun for the sake of having fun!

I belong to Rock Choir but I can certainly see where Alf is coming from if he takes his viewpoint purely from last nights programme. Believe me when I say you'll have agreat time if you give it a go. There is a wide spread of ages and some people can even sing! In fact we make an amazing sound when the 80 plus members sing in my choir. The choir leaders are fantastic and everyone leaves on a high, in fact I'm 'forced' to retire to the pub for a drink or two after as it always takes me an hour or two to come down! It's also a great way to make new friends. Go on! You know you want to! Jo

A typical comment from a critic. Cannot do anything himself so resorts to criticising others. Do something useful and find out how to enjoy yourself. This programme was for happy people.

"Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don't you dig how beautiful it is [out here]? Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?" Quote from Oddball in Kelly's Heroes. Rockchoir is awesome, all I can say is that the numbers speak for themselves! :-)

When the writer of this article says 'unable to carry a tune in a bucket' I wonder who he meant? The people we saw practising in their homes were obviously singing the bass line (all men and some women are bass) so the 'tune' they were singing would not be recognisable to anyone else but another bass!

Don't be discouraged Courtney, there are 8000 of us so what you see on the TV is just a snippet. I'm 43, I'm pretty trendy and as an ex-professional singer - I can hold a tune.I can also assure that we sing a real variety of music. Singing with Rock Choir gives me a bigger buzz than gigging professionally ever did. I love seeing how people develop their confidence and skills. I've made some fab friends, had a lot of fun and done some great performances that as a musician, I am genuinely proud of. It's really simple. Singing makes you happy! :)

But this isn't a choir this is a backing group for the obnoxious leader Caroline - a would-be pop star, I don't think so love. Are there any harmonies or just one line of backing vocals - dreadful

I watched this show out of curiosity,in spite of my partner saying"it's rubbish,that".Nothing wrong with a jolly choir,I say-the £100 termly fee is the sting,though.

what a ghastly woman Caroline comes across as - the whole programme is built around her, she's now on our screens for three weeks, having failed to be a "pop-star", and never forget viewers that the entire thing is a massive advert for what is just her BUSINESS - the £100 every ten weeks is NEVER MENTIONED, and it's what stops so many more joining, however much fun it probably is. Join your local musical society or choral group, (or set up one yourselves!) there are thousands out there, all just as much fun, and so much cheaper!!

It's a great concept and it gets people singing and socialising. However, I am uncomfortable with the business side of it and the fact that all choirs have to sing what Caroline wants. I sing in a Surrey choral society and enjoy fabulous music every week for a fraction of the price, and enjoy the variety of the local musical scene. I perform with professional orchestras, and sometimes pop up to the Royal Albert Hall or last week even Abbey Road Studios to take part in traditional choral events aimed at all-comers. It doesn't have to be "rock" just to attract the masses. There's thousands of us enjoying traditional choral music too. Each to their own and sometimes we may even meet in the middle!

Well said, HCS. One of the more odious implications of the truly dreadful TV drama series with the usually excellent Sarah Lancashire some time back was that her character's priggish, adulterous husband was part of the Old Guard because he conducted Haydn, and she was the Brave New World of pop arrangements. There's room for both - and plenty of choral singing to be done if not often for free (choirmasters and mistresses need a salary, after all), then at least a lot cheaper than this.

I can't believe that this 'failed pop star' has realised her dream to be a recording artist and her backing singers are funding it!!! She is appealing primarily to people who have never sung in a choir who know no different, using simple arrangements which are easy to pick up without sheet music. I've sung in a few choirs over the years but when I went along to give Rock Choir a try and realised that I'd be paying £10 a session to be a backing singer I was out of the door fast! Yes, there is a definite feel-good factor to singing, but there are plenty of open access community choirs around who sing great songs and don't charge anything like this amount! You may not get to sing at Wembley, but what you do has the same social and health benefits without the impact on your bank balance! I now sing with a Community Choir with branches in Bracknell, Wokingham and Bramley and I love it! We sing popular songs from chart music to musicals with just an occasional well-known traditional choral arrangement - you don't have to subscribe to the Rock Choir coffers to sing the songs you love!

Hi I am looking to join a choir locally. I live in Crowthorne so Bracknell or Wokingham would be great. Would you mind letting me have a contact number. Many thanks, Lesley Day

The comments are not negative, far from it, they are true. I was a member until very recently, it has become very much a corporate business now and focuses too much on the choreography when movement is required. It's £100 for ten weeks and if you miss any of those weeks for whatever reason your money has gone down the drain, and every member had to pay extra to go to Wembley!. Yes, it was fun, but for a lot of previous members the fun has gone now. The songs are chosen for you and you are never asked any opinions, you have no choice but to sing what Caroline chooses. This is not sour grapes, I am sure a lot of people do still enjoy it and long may it last but there are better and cheaper options out there.

I wonder how much Graeme Thomson spends when he/she goes to the pub or has a meal out. I consider my ten pounds per night, for one and a half hours, well spent. Cheaper than Gyms, better for me than a couple of pints or the calories in the average meal out, Rock Choir makes me feel goodfor around £7.00 per hour. The feeling of singing at Wembley was fantastic; its easy to sneer at Rock Choir, ordinary people daring to stand up and sing, maybe thats why Graeme did it, its journalism(?) on the cheap. We don't pretend to be 'Cardiff Singer of the World' we just love singing!

@ Judith Brown, I think what Graeme was alluding to (or without putting words in his mouth, this is what I know to be true), is that there are other choirs out there that offer a more rewarding musical experience at a much cheaper price. They too are filled with 'ordinary people daring to stand up and sing' (there are very few pro or even semi-pro choirs in the country - the vast majority, from the BBC Symphony Chorus downwards, are made up of people who do other things to earn their living, and sing in choirs in their spare time for the pleasure of it). Most choirs don't charge their members £300/year though - an average might be c.£100 per YEAR for a traditional choir that stages several concerts with orchestra in that year. For 'community choirs' who do similar things to that of Rock Choir, a typical cost might be £6 per session. It's great that Rock Choir members find it a rewarding experience, and some may even find it life-changing, but it should be borne in mind that every single one is first and foremost a customer of a business. This contrasts with most traditional choirs, many of which are regsitered charities, meaning they are run by volunteers (and, for constituted organisations, a member is exactly that - with voting rights). Yes, they will pay for a music director, pianist, rehearsal venue etc, but no-one gets paid a penny for running the organisation (and in fact most don't even reclaim expenses incurred doing the vast amount of work this can entail). Any 'profts' are kept within the choir for the future benefit of the choir. Local community choirs are most usually run by an individual for profit (or 'to scrape a living'), but as I said, most don't charge £10/week. This isn't sneering at Rock Choir, by the way, or looking down on it as anyone who saw the programme can see it brings an awful lot of pleasure to a large number of people. However, when a business get a phenominal amount of free primetime TV advertising, it really would be remiss of people who run charities in the same area not to let people know that there are alternatives out there offering both similar and different singing opportunities for a much lower cost!

Well my First concert based in Derby The midlands with the Rock Choir will be an absolute Ball. The Wish Foundation Charity Ball. Who Cares what people think of the rock choir when on the 25th november 2011 we will be part of the entertainment for raising thousands of pounds for the wish foundation.Children in Great Need. If a Choir can contribute towards these events then that`s not half as bad, is it? Cant Wait

If anyone knows of a community choir in my area that doesn't charge, and doesn't expect members to be able to read music, then I'd love to know. Before I joined Rock Choir earlier this year I looked around and found - nothing - apart from choirs which stressed their need for prospective members to have serious musical knowledge. As it happens I appreciate all kinds of music, I have sung the Messiah in a church choir in a cathedral and can read music. Some of Rock Choir's soloists have amazing voices which put many an X Factor wannabe (or winner) to shame, and our leader studied at the Royal College of Music and is a fantastic opera singer in her own right. She is a perfectionist who insists we get it right and teaches us accordingly. The TV mini series was misleading - we are not merely Caroline's backing singers. Why shouldn't Caroline Redman Lusher make money out of it? Duncan Bannatyne makes money out of his gyms, as does David Lloyd. If it was anyone else they would be applauded for their entrepreneurship. Personally I don't like Caroline, but I can't fault her for seeing an opportunity in the market and grasping it. People can vote with their feet. As for the gripes about the £5 per 1 1/2 hour session, any exercise class, art class, drama class, language class... in my area costs as much and more, even when Community funded (and those are few and far between nowadays). As I said, if there is anyone who can introduce me to a free Community choir in the St Albans/Watford area (and no, I don't qualify for Gareth Malone's South Oxhey), I'd love to know.

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