Having got over the disappointment of 'The Choir That Rocks' - or as the Daily Mirror calls it, 'The Choir That Sucks', not the Choir itself, just the documentary, and I couldn't really argue with that, I was interested to see if it pulled its socks up for Part 2. They stayed resolutely around its ankles with the odd foray up to just below knee level.
This episode was to feature the Farnham 'Teen' Choir who I had seen perform at Wembley (well, you all know we got there so not much point pretending!). I was knocked out by Rachel O' Brien, who sang 'You've Got the Love' by Florence and the Machine to rapturous applause. That such a great voice could come from a teenager was amazing. So I was a little bit miffed to discover that she's actually 22 and a university graduate. It seemed to be stretching the idea of a 'Teen Choir' just a little bit far. There are lots of new Teen Choirs being set up all across the country. The age range states 11-20. Hmm, so why, I have to ask myself, is someone who is clearly too old for a teen choir taking the starring role in the documentary?
And my dears, the producers must have just about peed their pants when they discovered that not only can the girl sing but she's got a heart condition too! And one, incidentally, that Hugh Bonneville can't seem to get right. He called it Vasovogal Syndrome. It's actually called Vasovagal Synchope, a synchope being a medical name for a faint. It's not, strictly speaking, a heart condition, rather a malfunction in the autonomic part of the nervous system that regulates the flow of blood to the body. It causes a drop in blood pressure and slowing of the heartbeat and then you faint. It's not lifethreatening, just bloody annoying, but the producers, and Rachel herself were not about to let that stand in the way of a bit of dramatic telly.
Most VS sufferers have a trigger that brings on an attack according to a friend who suffers from it. Rachel's was clearly a very rare one as it came on every time a TV camera was pointed at her. We were treated to a 'beauty shot' of 'all the drugs she has to take to control it' but a quick freeze frame revealed that they seemed to be all the same drug, Fludrocortisone, which is prescribed to anyone with what is called orthostatic intolerance (just see how much you're learning!) - basically if you stand upright too long, you faint - and what looked suspiciously like vitamin tablets. I'm not trying to make light of her condition but I can't deny that by the end of it I was mutteringr rather unkindly "Just faint for God's sake and get it over with' every time she fluttered her hand and commented on her heart 'going funny'.
My own choir featured far more so it was fun to see who got a close up and who was going the wrong way in the dance moves (Steve, you know who you are!). The sudden appearance of one of our soloists fronting the Stroud Rock Choir was a bit strange. As far as I know, she only goes to ours. It gave me a creeping sense of unease, that the documentary was not, in fact, being very honest.
This was further compounded by the secondary story of whether or not Rachel would sing well enough for 'The Man from Universal' to be whisked off to record her 'first' solo at the Abbey Road studios and thus realise her dream of becoming a recording star. We all knew she'd do it, she does have a wonderful voice but when I did a quick Google of her to find out her surname, having missed it on the documentary, I discovered that she has already sung solo on Rock Choir's first album. (Track 5 apparently, in case you actually care). So the big 'will she/won't she' get to sing solo was just another bit of not entirely honest telly.
So it's the final instalment tonight, and I think it will be the best one. The whole Wembley thing was absolutely fabulous and I hope the cameras manage to really capture the atmosphere. I'm looking forward to hearing how we all sounded together. When you are sitting in one voice section it's quite difficult to hear what the whole thing sounds like.
The single 'Something Inside So Strong' from the (my!) new album goes on download release at 10pm tonight. It will be available on iTunes for a mere 99p. Please would you buy it and ask all your friends to as well. The live track we recorded at Wembley is Track 20. All the royalties go to Refuge, and goodness knows they could do with it. With a fair wind it might even go to the top of the download charts which would mean I could (almost) honestly put No 1 recording star on my CV, which is in itself as much a work of fiction as this whole documentary thingy.
Apparently Caroline is in discussions with the Olympic Games Committee about Rock Choir performing at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. That would be pretty amazing. Watch this space!