Stratford choir reach final of BBC talent show

Stratford East Singers on The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone (picture:Twenty Twenty Brighton/ Mark J

Stratford East Singers on The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone (picture:Twenty Twenty Brighton/ Mark Johnson) - Credit: BBC/Twenty Twenty Brighton/Mark Johnson

A community choir from Stratford are just one performance away from being crowned the best a capella singers in Britain.

For the past five weeks, Stratford East Singers have been wowing television audiences with their performances on The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone.

Around 125 groups auditioned back in February, with eight selected to feature on the BBC Two programme.

Last night’s episode saw the community choir become one of just three vocal groups to reach the final.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to reach the final,” said choir member Abena Adofo.

“We’ve had a lot of support from people in Newham; we’ve had people come up to us and ask for photos.

“We want to show Stratford in a good light.”

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Last night’s semi-final saw the choir, based at Theatre Royal Stratford East, tasked with making a music video to a song of their choice in just one week.

Their performance of Wonder, by Naughty Boy and Emeli Sande, included backdrops familiar in the borough.

Throughout the competition, the singers have performed a varied repertoire, with Abena citing Beyonce’s Single Ladies as her favourite.

“It was a real challenge,” she said.

“The week before, we performed Abba and we were thinking about how we were going to top it.

“That was the week when people started to really recognise us.”

The Stratford East Singers will compete against the all-male Birmingham six-piece Sons of Pitches and Choral Stimulation, formed by University of Glasgow students, in the final at Camden’s Koko.

“It’s something we never thought we’d do,” added Wenona Elie.

“It’s been an amazing experience, and we’ve met some really lovely people.

“Gareth really knows his stuff and we learnt a lot from him from day one.”

While the singers are keeping tight-lipped about their success in the final – “you’ll have to watch it” – being on the show is certainly helping to boost singing in east London.

“We’ve had people get in touch with us asking if we’ve got any spaces,” said Wenona.

The final of The Naked Choir with Gareth Malone will be shown on Tuesday at 9pm on BBC Two.