Gareth Edmund Malone OBE (born 9 November 1975) is an English choirmaster and broadcaster, self-described as an "animateur, presenter and populariser of choral singing". He is best known for his television appearances in programmes such as The Choir, which focus on singing and introducing choral music to new participants. Malone was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours, for services to music.
Gareth Malone was born into a family of Irish descent as the only child of James and Sian Malone, who had met at their local Gilbert and Sullivan society. His father, James Malone, grew up in Parkhead in Scotland in an Irish family, and was a bank manager. His English mother of Irish descent, Sian, worked in the civil service. Gareth was educated at Bournemouth School and because of his passion for singing he was "bullied mercilessly" at school. He sang with the Symphony Chorus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and he studied drama at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was in the university choir and composed music for theatre productions. After graduating he gave private tuition and then applied for a postgraduate vocal studies course at the Royal Academy of Music; he passed with distinction in 2005.
Until December 2009, Malone worked for the London Symphony Orchestra at LSO St Luke's where he ran their youth choir and community choir. Whilst working at the L.S.O., Malone was awarded the position of Edward Heath Assistant Animateur in 2001. He entered television work when approached by 20/20, a production company which wanted to make a series about singing in schools. Without knowing who could front the programme they had researched the term "community choirmasters" and discovered Malone’s name. The Choir was the result and won two BAFTAs and a Broadcast award.
On 31 December 2009, Malone conducted the first New Year's Eve Twitter Community Choir performance of Auld Lang Syne. He asked his followers on Twitter, and friends on Facebook, to join in with the event.
A later project was The Knight Crew, a youth opera based on a book written by Nicky Singer and performed at Glyndebourne. After choosing approximately 50 cast out of over 400 applicants between the ages of 14–20 through workshops and auditions, and months of rehearsals, The Knight Crew was performed at Glyndebourne between 3 and 6 March 2010. The project was filmed for a television series, Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne and aired on the BBC on 1 July 2010.
In May 2010, Malone was awarded the Freedom of the City of London by Nick Anstee, Lord Mayor of the City of London (not to be confused with the Mayor of London) in recognition of his music education work in that city.
Gareth Malone's television appearances began in 2007 with his reality television series The Choir, broadcast on BBC Two. The series focused on teaching choral singing to teenagers with no such experience, the first programme being set in Northolt High School, a comprehensive school in the west London suburbs. Subsequent programmes continued the theme by taking choral music to challenging situations: Boys Don't Sing (2008) featured pupils at Lancaster School, Leicester, an all-boys school where there was reluctance to sing; the third series, entitled Unsung Town, featured the formation of a community choir in South Oxhey, a suburban town where singing was not a common activity.
In 2010 Malone presented a children's programme for CBBC, The Big Performance in which ten keen, but extremely shy, young singers took the opportunity to overcome their fears. They sang for a larger audience each week, taking it in turns to be the soloist, and in the final week they performed for BBC Proms in the Park. A second series was broadcast in 2011 with the final week taking the form of a performance of a choral arrangement of the song "Keep Holding On" for the BBC charity telethon Children in Need 2011. The ten singers led a live choir in the studio along with children's choirs nationwide, linked by satellite.
For the BBC Two programme The Choir: Military Wives, first broadcast in November 2011, Malone went to Chivenor Barracks in Devon, creating a choir from wives and partners of military personnel deployed to Afghanistan. The culmination of the programme was the opening performance for the Royal British Legion's Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall on 12 November 2011. The three-minute piece performed by the Military Wives Choir was the song Wherever You Are, a love poem compiled from letters written between the women and their absent husbands and partners and set to music by composer Paul Mealor.
A successful campaign was launched to promote sales of the CD single, with the aim of it becoming the 2011 Christmas number one in the UK Singles Chart, which was supported by BBC Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans. First day sales, which included all pre-orders, indicated that they were outselling their closest rivals, Little Mix, by a hundred singles to one, causing Ladbrokes to close betting for the Christmas number one, and Simon Cowell to admit defeat in the race. The pre-order sales caused the single to become one of the top 20 best-selling music products of all-time at Amazon.co.uk.
On 16 November 2014, it was announced that Malone and a group of celebrities he had mentored had reached the UK number 1 with their Children In Need charity single Wake Me Up, a cover of the song originally recorded by Swedish dance act Avicii.
Malone's television appearances include to date:
|2007||Choir, TheThe Choir||BBC Two|
|2008||Choir: Boys Don't Sing, TheThe Choir: Boys Don't Sing||BBC Two|
|2009||Choir: Unsung Town, TheThe Choir: Unsung Town||BBC Two||Broadcast by NHK Educational TV and NHK BS1 (NHK衛星第1テレビジョン NHK Ēsē Dai-ichi Terebijon) (NHK Broadcasting Satellite Television 1) in Japan in 2010|
|2009||How a Choir Works||BBC Four||Single documentary|
|2009||Never Mind the Buzzcocks||BBC Two||Appeared as a guest on panel game show|
|2010||Sport Relief 2010||BBC One||Appeared as a guest conducting the Olympic Choir|
|2010||Shanties and Sea Songs with Gareth Malone ||BBC Four||Single documentary as part of BBC Sea Fever season|
|2010||Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne||BBC Two||Example|
|2010||Extraordinary School for Boys||BBC Two||Example|
|2010||Big Performance, TheThe Big Performance||CBBC||Series aimed at children|
|2011||The Choir Does Comic Relief 2011||BBC One||Guest appearance on BBC Red Nose Day 2011 training a choir of celebrity chefs|
|2011||Big Performance, TheThe Big Performance||CBBC||Series aimed at children|
|2011||Children in Need||BBC One||Guest appearance leading a choir of children|
|2011||Choir: Military Wives , TheThe Choir: Military Wives ||BBC Two||Spin-off single "Wherever You Are" released on 18 December 2011|
|2012||Sing While You Work||BBC Two||Four workplace choirs are formed and compete over six episodes|
|2012||Never Mind the Buzzcocks||BBC Two||Appeared as a guest on panel game show|
|2013||It Takes A Choir||USA||US version of The Choir|
|2013||Sing While You Work||BBC Two||Five workplace choirs are formed and compete over eight episodes|
|2013||Mr. Blue Sky (Jeff Lynne)||BBC Four||Choirs for a "The XX century Mozart, Jeff Lynne"|
|2014||Would I Lie To You?||BBC One||Appeared as a guest on the panel game show|
|2014||Gareth's All Star Choir||BBC One||A choir of celebrities create a recording of Avicii's Wake Me Up for Children in Need|
|2014||The Choir: New Military Wives||BBC Two||New military wives choir for the World War One Prom|
|2015||Who Do You Think You Are?||BBC One|
|2015||The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone||BBC Two||A cappella groups compete in a competition|
|2015||Gareth Malone's Big Choir Reunion||BBC Two|
|2016||Gareth's Invictus Choir||BBC Two||In association with the Invictus Games|
|2016||The Choir: Gareth's Best in Britain||BBC Two|
|2017||Pitch Battle||BBC One||Judge|
Gareth Malone has written two books on the subject of choral singing. His most recent title, Choir: Gareth Malone, is an account of the production of his television series The Choir.