The Singing Estate - Tuesday March 20

the singing estate (4/4) 19.15–20.00

This four-part series follows renowned conductor Ivor Setterfield as he selects singers from the Blackbird Leys housing estate in Oxford and transforms them into a classical choir. A brand new programme catching up with the singers today will air at the end of the series. In tonight’s programme, pressure mounts for Ivor’s novices as they prepare to take to the stage in front of a crowd of 5,000.

Just ten days away from their big performance, the choir is far from ready, and Ivor knows he has a lot of work yet to do. But it is not just the singing that is problematic: tensions are running high and precious rehearsal time is spent arguing. As if preparing for the Royal Albert Hall concert is not hard enough, Ivor raises the bar even higher. As well as performing ‘O Fortuna’, the singers will also be accompanying classical music stars G4 in their rendition of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. And there is yet another prize in store when G4 arrive on the estate to rehearse with the choir!

But there is trouble ahead. Alto Jade, who has not been attending many rehearsals due to problems at home, is in danger of losing her place in the choir when Ivor discovers she doesn’t know either of the pieces well enough. And, when the choir travels to Liverpool for their first rehearsal with an 85-piece orchestra, Ivor is concerned that their unruly behaviour will ruin the concert for everyone.

When the day of the concert arrives, everyone is nervous. As the choir rehearses on the stage, tensions are heightened even further when a lack of discipline lets the singers down again. But crunch time has arrived for the understudies and Ivor must pick his final line-up for the concert. John Humphries, a serial talent show contestant, is desperate to prove that he’s good enough, but with time running out, will he realise his dream?

Just ten weeks ago, the choir had never sung a note of classical music, but they must now perform two pieces in front of an audience of 5,500 at Classic FM Live. But a last-minute panic attack by one of the sopranos threatens the performance: can they put their fears aside and sing like stars?

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