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"This is so surreal."
The song has become the fastest-selling single in Britain in the last three years. It sold 556,000 copies in the last week, more than the rest of the top 12 combined. And it's not the work of a teen pop sensation or even a "professional" musician. Rather, it came from a bunch of military wives singing their hearts out. And the result is nothing short of tear-jerking and spectacular.
"This is so surreal. Who would have guessed in those first rehearsals that we could take Christmas Number 1" the choir's director, Gareth Malone, told the Telegraph. He formed the group for a BBC singing competition called, "The Choir."
And they all stuck singing gold.
The song is called "Wherever You Are," and the video features not only the song, but a behind-the-scenes look at the song's recording:
Understandably, the patchwork group of singers has captivated Britain. The Daily Mail's Melanie Phillips tries to put into words why:
As a TV programme, The Choir shone out from the dross of reality TV and all the tawdry and vulgar shows that pass for entertainment on the box. Yet this three-part series was broadcast only as a niche programme on BBC2.
And even now the BBC doesn’t seem to appreciate quite what a gem it has created, by tucking away a condensed 90-minute version late last Thursday evening. Surely it should have been elevated instead to the Christmas or Boxing Day schedules.
For what this series showed us was something really remarkable and uplifting — the power to enable people to transform their own lives.
We saw these military wives at first too shy even to perform in front of each other.
Purely through his blazing faith in the transformative power of song, the absurdly youthful Malone coaxed them first to sing in front of him, then each other, then soldiers on the base, then in a local market, then at Sandhurst and finally at the Remembrance concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
Whereupon there was not a dry eye among the viewing audience. It was not just that we saw these timid women grow in confidence and blossom in hitherto unsuspected talents — and then have the guts to display those talents in public which previously none of them would have dreamed possible.
And just in case your heart wasn't warm enough, all the proceeds from the song's purchase go to the Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA).
"Britain sometimes seems to be sliding beneath the weight of its own depression and sense of inexorable decline," writes Phillips.
"Here’s a New Year hope — that Gareth Malone’s choir is a turning point which will inspire the whole nation to sing instead."
You can download the song here.
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