Jake Bacon is clearly a brave man. As a member of the volunteer lifeboat crew in Portishead, Somerset, he regularly encounters gusty winds and stormy seas when he sets out to save lives in the Bristol Channel.
That courage will be tested in a different way on May 7 when Jake takes his place in the Coronation Choir, a troupe of 300 amateur singers from across the UK who gather together in front of the newly crowned King Charles III at the coronation. Concert at Windsor Castle.
Of course, the king will not be alone in the crowd. There will be 20,000 revelers at the concert, which will also see appearances by Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, Sir Brian Terville and Take That, as well as millions more watching and listening live on BBC1 and Radio 2.
“It’s a terrifying prospect in some ways, and since my day job is a university lecturer, I’d be completely out of my comfort zone,” Jake admits. But it’s also sexy and honorable. The six members of the Portishead crew who perform sea shanties as The 85ers stick together and we’ll support each other – whatever the challenge! “
The lead-up to the big evening was captured in the BBC1 documentary, Sing For The King: The Search For The Coronation Choir, which was shown two days before the gala.
The Coronation Choir, a troupe of 300 amateur singers from across the United Kingdom, gathered together before the newly crowned King Charles III in Windsor. Stern judge Motsi Mabuse, pictured with Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden and TV choirmaster Gareth Malone, will advise the choir members as they sing together for the first time.
Gareth Malone, star of the BAFTA award-winning TV series The Choir, isn’t pulling any punches when it comes to helping singers.
Britain’s Got Talent judges Amanda Holden, TV Band Director Gareth Malone and stern judge Motsi Mabuse will advise the choir members as they sing together for the first time.
“It’s the most amazing opportunity for hundreds of very dedicated singers,” says Amanda.
Also participating is Rose Ayling-Ellis, former deaf EastEnder and 2021 winner Strictly, who has been focusing her efforts on UNIFY, a group of deaf singers created just a year ago.
I’m here to give them the confidence to perform on stage. It’s nerve wracking to perform to the world so I can advise them on that because I’ve done so many nerve-wracking things now! “
More than 700 amateur singing groups applied to participate in the coronation ceremony. Among those chosen were farmers from Northern Ireland, Hull NHS workers, firefighters and cab drivers in London, an all-male Welsh Voice Choir, Yorkshire’s only South Asian choir, and Gaelic singers from the Isles of West Scotland.
Gareth Malone, star of the BAFTA Award winning TV series The Choir, wasn’t pulling any punches when it came to helping the singers.
“I mean work,” he laughs. I know they will be nervous, but it is important to educate people about the challenges while also setting realistic goals for them. I know we can succeed.
The coronation party will take place at Windsor Castle and will include appearances by Sir Bryn Terville and Take That
Katy Perry and Lionel Richie, both judges on American Idol, will also perform at Windsor Castle on May 7.
Among those working hard is the Just Sing Choir from Northern Ireland. “It started with a sing-along in my house,” says choir director Tore Hanath. This was in 2021 and we were homeschooling our 4 kids and my husband was working from home during covid.
“Things were stressful but when we put some songs on and the whole family sang along to it, everyone seemed happier.”
Tori suggested her friend Heather Burns start a choir and gave birth to Just Sing, which includes 70 Portadown Women. Twenty of them will be in Windsor.
Gareth’s overriding message was ‘Practice, Practice, Practice,’ says Tory. It helps that the song we’re going to sing is great and once it’s in our heads, we’ll be able to sing it to anyone. Including the King!
Singing for the King: The Coronation Choir Search Choir, Friday, 8pm, BBC1.