Leys choir set to star again

The choir performing for Oxford United fans last year

The choir performing for Oxford United fans last year

First published in News by

The amateur choir which sang its way from an Oxford estate to the Royal Albert Hall is tuning up for a fresh TV appearance.

Millions of viewers were glued to their screens as singers including a paint-sprayer, doormen and even a bingo caller came together to form the Blackbird Leys Choir for Channel Five's The Singing Estate last year.

The show finished with a triumphant performance at the Royal Albert Hall in front of thousands of classical music fans.

But the cameras kept rolling and followed the choir as they went back to daily life and carried on improving their singing voices And there have been plenty more exciting adventures for the singers - one of which took them to Buckingham Palace.

Now television bosses have announced many of the characters will be back in The Singing Estate: What Happened Next?

The show will be screened on Tuesday, March 27, and aims to keep the choir's fans updated with all the latest news.

The documentary will not only follow the choir as it sticks together to perform in Oxford but also the singers who decided to go it alone.

Conductor Ivor Setterfield is also back as he attempts to get hundreds of singers to join the choir in the ambitious Oxford Sings project at Oxford Town Hall.

A Five spokesman said: "On his return to the city, Ivor Setterfield is delighted that his protegés have embraced classical music with such fervour, and now he wants them to spread the word. Hoping they will become ambassadors for the idea of signing being good for people, Ivor wants them to recruit a new choir, one that will fill the Oxford Town Hall and perform the Hallelujah Chorus in a one-day event."

But not all the singers who performed at the Royal Albert Hall are still with the choir - and the documentary will also show how tenor Bobby Damney and bass Colin Morris-Smith are handling their own music projects.

Cameras will also follow the choir as it faces its most famous fan, The Queen, when they are invited to Buckingham Palace to sing at a High Achievers' event.

The choir was formed in January last year when almost 200 people turned out at auditions at the Blackbird Leys Community Centre.

It was whittled down to 40 who trained and performed in London at the Royal Albert Hall. The show went out on Channel Five.

The remainder of the choir were joined by new recruits for a show at the city's Sheldonian Theatre last month.

Tenor Eric Hall, 71, of Greater Leys, said: "It has been absolutely marvellous. We have performed at the Sheldonian Theatre and had one big load of fun. So I'll be watching it.

"I was stopped in Tesco by someone who said they had lived in Blackbird Leys for 48 years and it was the best thing that has happened on the estate. Last time the series was on, I got recognised in Banbury, and even Coventry."

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