Filton Royal Mail staff star in BBC choir contest

Workers from the Royal Mail's Bristol Mail Centre star in the BBC's "The Choir".

Workers from the Royal Mail’s Bristol Mail Centre in Filton are to feature in tonight’s episode of the BBC’s ‘The Choir: Sing While You Work‘.

Travelling across the country, choirmaster Gareth Malone sets out to create four unique choirs in four very different organisations which will then sing head to head in a contest to find his best workplace choir.

His last project, where he put together a choir of military wives from two army bases in Devon while their husbands were deployed to Afghanistan, scored a Christmas number one.

In tonight’s episode, he searches for hidden singing talent among managers and delivery workers, and initially encounters a mixed response to his ideas – but the novice choristers start to bond as rehearsals get under way, and Gareth discovers a strong sense of pride among them.

Asked to choose a song that represents “what you do and who you are”, members of the choir jokingly suggest “return to sender” and “who let the dogs out?”.

The programme goes out in BBC tonight (Thursday 27th September) at 9pm. Click the image above to see a preview clip.

The Royal Mail Choir’s 30 members were personally selected by Gareth from around 500 postal workers who auditioned for the programme.

Logistics director Tim Barber, who sang in the bass section of the Royal Mail Choir, said Gareth was “inspiring” and “very people oriented”, with “huge interest in the Royal Mail as an organisation”.

Tim, who has worked for Royal Mail for 30 years and is based in Southampton but has an office in Bristol, said:

“The lesson for me is that barriers come down when you all pursue a common goal.”

“I had never sung in public before except when doing karaoke and I think very few of the other choir members had before either. This was a different way of singing. It was a lot more technical than I had thought and that was the biggest challenge.”

“What surprised me was how powerful a force we became, through our skills development and working together. Barriers that may have been there at first just disappeared because we were pursuing a common goal, to be the best we could be.”

“Grades weren’t an issue, we challenged and critiqued each other openly, but always constructively because we all wanted the same thing.”

Whether they emerge as winners or not, the choir’s members have vowed to “keep together” after the programme and try to raise £25,000 for a prostate cancer charity, a sum that Royal Mail says it will match.

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