The Choir That Rocks Press Pack FINAL by keralaguest

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									   ***The information contained herein is strictly embargoed from all press use,
     non-commercial publication, or syndication until Tuesday 7 June 2011***




Press contacts:                                   Pictures contact:

Sarah Woonton                                     Shane Chapman
ITV Press Office – 020 7157 3066                  ITV Press Office – 020 7157 3043
sarah.woonton@itv.com                             shane.chapman@itv.com
www.itv.com/presscentre                           www.itvpictures.com

Jo Blanket
ITV Press Office – 020 7157 3011
jo.blanket@itv.com
www.itv.com/presscentre

Steph Faber (10 Star Entertainment)
Faber & Bishopp PR – 07753 827 777
steph@faberbishopp.co.uk

Tamara Bishopp (10 Star Entertainment)
Faber & Bishopp PR – 07769 707010
Tamara@faberbishopp.co.uk
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This new three part entertaining documentary series tells the stories of people from
all over Britain united by one common desire… to sing in the inspirational Rock
Choir. Filmed over five months, the cameras follow Rock Choir‟s dynamic founder
Caroline Redman Lusher and her dedicated team as they expand the Rock Choir
empire across Britain. With their electrifying repertoire of current and classic pop and
rock numbers; from Amy Winehouse and Robbie Williams to Aretha Franklin; this
Choir will get everyone wanting to join in.

Rock Choir is the largest and most popular choir in the UK, with 150 rehearsals in 90
towns across the country and more than 8000 members. For many of its members it
is a stress-busting inspiration, giving them life-changing experiences they never
thought possible. It‟s come a long way from a small advertisement put up in a coffee
shop in Farnham by Caroline Redman Lusher five years ago.

In this three part series the uplifting story of Rock Choir will be told; of people all over
Britain who come together to sing feel-good rock, pop, soul chart hits. With no need
to audition the only requirements are enthusiasm and commitment. Full of Brits with
true grit and heart-warming stories, Rock Choir and its many characters is a story
about real people and real lives.

Over the series compelling stories will unfold and engaging characters will emerge:
the plumber who practises his choirs‟ dance routine while he mends a leaky boiler;
the teenagers performing their version of a Pixie Lott song in the classroom; the 24
year old who has finally found her confidence since being knocked by childhood
bullies, the retired husband and wife who enjoy attending the choir together and a
women battling cancer who gains strength from her fellow choir members.

This is the true story of what has already been dubbed the “people‟s choir”. A
national phenomenon that has touched thousands of ordinary people and changed
some of their lives forever. From rehearsals in drafty halls, barns and theatres to live
performances – be they in local shopping centres or school halls, the series will be
there as the dramas unfold - seeing the choirs as they struggle with new songs, the
battles for the coveted solos and the drive to get members for the newest choirs.

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From Portsmouth to Glasgow, Rock Choir is constantly growing, but the ultimate
dream is get everyone performing together in one vast stadium. Will Rock Choir and
its members will be able to pull it off?

The programme has been developed by 10 Star Entertainment, who produced
Boyzone: A Tribute To Stephen Gately for ITV1 earlier this year, and has been
commissioned by John Kaye Cooper, ITV Controller of Entertainment. Series
producer is Alannah Richardson (Supersizers, Grand Designs) and is Co-Executive
Produced by 10 Star Entertainment CEO, Beatrice Ballard (How Do You Solve A
Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do) and 10 Star Entertainment Executive
Producer, Rachael Parker (X Factor, Big Brother).

Beatrice Ballard said:

“I'm delighted to be working with ITV again on this exciting series commission. Rock
Choir is a modern phenomenon - open to all, it's sweeping across the UK, bringing
ordinary people together to sing their hearts out to their favourite rock and pop songs.
It's a very British success story, full of warmth, passion, and enthusiasm.”

John Kaye Cooper said:

“The Choir That Rocks will combine compelling personal stories with great music,
and going behind the scenes of the Rock Choirs will give ITV1 viewers a unique and
fascinating look at people's lives.”

10 Star Entertainment creates and produces prime-time entertainment programming
for all the UK‟s major broadcasters. It was founded in 2009 by Beatrice Ballard,
former Creative Head and Executive Producer, BBC Entertainment.


   The Choir That Rocks is coming soon to ITV1 and ITV1HD




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       CAROLINE REDMAN LUSHER
               Founder and director of Rock Choir

                              The pioneer of the contemporary choir phenomenon,
                              Caroline Redman Lusher has revolutionised choral
                              singing in the UK. Founder of Rock Choir and a
                              talented solo artist, she is an inspiration to thousands of
                              people across the UK.

                              Rock Choir is now recognised as the world‟s largest
                              contemporary choir with nearly 150 weekly rehearsals
                              and 8,000 members. With the Rock Choir team,
                              Caroline plans to expand Rock Choir nationally offering
                              the general public in excess of 200 Rock Choir
                              rehearsals each week in 140 towns.

                                A professional singer and musician, with grade eight
                                certificates in both violin and piano from the Royal
                                School of Music, she started performing professionally
at fifteen while studying for a classical music scholarship. Before she became a
teacher of Performing Arts and Music, she pursued her dream to win a record deal
performing in the West End.

Caroline‟s dream was realised when Rock Choir was offered a four album record
deal with Universal. Caroline has also featured on the „Together‟ album by Blake, the
classical-pop crossover artists, and The Soldiers „Coming Home‟ album, which
reached double platinum status. Her duet „Against All Odds‟ was officially the most
downloaded song on The Soldiers album.




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INTERVIEW WITH CAROLINE REDMAN
            LUSHER
What age did you first discover your love for music?

When I was 4 years old, my mum received a phone call from my infant school suggesting
that they thought I might be musical; they wanted to introduce me to violin lessons that were
being offered free by the local council. Apparently in assembly, when the headmistress
would ask if the school remembered the hymn, I would willingly stand up and remind the
school by singing it to them all! I was quickly introduced to the violin and then the piano with
weekly lessons - but on the side I used to teach my school friends Abba songs and make up
dance moves and we would sing and perform to the class. By the age of 10 I had
discovered how to sing and play the piano simultaneously and my „party piece‟ was „Holding
out for a Hero‟ by Bonnie Tyler and would rock at the piano every time I performed it for
crowds. It was then that I began my own personal journey of trying to get a record deal, I
spent every spare moment practicing the piano, violin and singing classically. I achieved
grade 8s by the age of 15 but I was much more fascinated by contemporary music.

I was determined to take every opportunity in front of me to lead me to the record deal,
singing and playing pop songs - Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, ELO etc, these artists
were the soundtrack of my youth, along with the top 40 of the time. At the age of 15 whilst
studying for my GCSEs I auditioned for a job singing and playing the piano in 2 venues – a
nightclub and a piano bar. I lied about my age saying I was 25 and was given both gigs on a
Friday and Saturday night. I was being paid to sing and play feel-good pop songs all night –
it was a great experience.

Do you come from a musical family?

My grandfather who died before I was born was brought up on the violin and piano and led a
dance band in Shropshire in the 1930s. My father used to play in a skiffle band playing bass
on an old tea chest strung up with a string (he says they were awful!). My sister learned
flute and piano but apart from that I was left to explore music with no other influences. My
parents were and continue to be hugely supportive of my endeavours and I benefited from a
classical music scholarship at the age of 11-18 at a private school in Solihull.

When did you first have the idea for Rock Choir?

I first had the idea for Rock Choir when I was an A-level teacher. I had performed in London
for 4 years after graduating and chased my dream of the record deal to the bitter end where
it was clear that the big iron gates around the record industry just weren‟t going to open for
me. My father persuaded me to leave London and move to Farnham where my family had
moved to in the meantime. I had to restart my career and put the record deal to bed, it was
a very low time for me coming to terms with the end of that dream. Whilst back in Farnham I
was asked to step in and teach A-level Performing Arts, they were keen to introduce staff
who had industry experience. I was charged with a group of 20 students who could not read
music but needed to pass the music module of their Performing Arts A-level, they were
passionate about singing and performing but very shy with it. I harmonised some of the pop
songs I used to sing at the piano in London as a singer/pianist and created a way of
teaching the song to them that built their confidence quickly and also allowed them to
understand and develop as musicians and performers without the need for prior knowledge.
The group of 20 grew to 170 and after feedback from other staff and their parents, it was
clear that their confidence and grades across the board were increasing and their attitude
was much more positive generally and relationships were improving. It forced me to analyse
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what it was I was doing and it made me realise that I might be able to make a difference to
other age groups, both older and younger.

Can you tell us in your own words what Rock Choir is?

Rock Choir is an experience; it offers pop, gospel and Motown singing to anyone who simply
wants to sing. It has no auditions and there is no requirement to read music. The
rehearsals are weekly but members gain in many other ways outside those weekly sessions,
it‟s about making the members feel good about themselves and giving them time out of their
busy lives. It builds their confidence as singers but in their personal lives as well, it‟s about
introducing new friendships, events and bringing communities back together to achieve
something together as equals. Rock Choir is about using the great pop songs of our time to
make the public feel amazing. It‟s a life-affirming formula of singing, entertainment, teaching,
learning, nurturing and excitement.

How did you put the idea into action?

In 2005, I decided to quit my job as an A-level teacher to offer what is now called „Rock
Choir‟ to the general public, (my mum came up with the name). I handed in my resignation,
put my house on the line, left my pension and borrowed £1000 from my Dad to buy a
portable piano and PA system. I paid someone to design the Rock Choir logo and printed
some posters; I put one up in a local Farnham café suggesting that anyone who loved pop
songs and wanted to sing with me should come along and try Rock Choir out - „no audition
and no requirement to read music‟ My father and I put out 40 chairs and more than 70 adults
arrived – all nervous and unsure, I was nervous as well but we got through the session
introducing them to „Oh Happy Day‟ which was the very first song I introduced the students
to, years before. At the end of their first rehearsal they were all on their feet applauding
themselves, some were very emotional. After the initial rehearsal they said 30 years ago
they hadn‟t been allowed to sing in the school choir and had been under confident ever
since or their husbands or children would tease them and wouldn‟t let them sing in the
house - this was their chance to sing their hearts out in the comfort of a safe environment
with lots of other people.

Word of mouth seemed to dictate the rapid growth of Rock Choir and I was asked to set up
rehearsals in the local towns Guildford and Godalming. Very soon I was receiving letters,
cards and emails from people all across the UK asking if I would introduce Rock Choir to
their community.

Did you imagine when you first set up Rock Choir, that it would be as successful as it
is?

Rock Choir has organically grown from the love of pop music and the desire to make people
happy. I„m on a journey and now there are thousands of people on that journey with me.
None of us view it as a business; it‟s more of a life affirming journey of bringing people
together. Rock Choir is unique and it‟s a culmination personally of everything I have ever
done, learnt or experienced, coming together to provide something special for the UK. I
soon realised within months of introducing it to Farnham that all the years of practise and
experiences I had created for myself to try and get a record deal was actually leading me to
Rock Choir. I was using every part of me to make it work and it was working. It was only
then that I was able to fully appreciate where I was in my life and what I was meant to do
and that the record deal didn‟t matter anymore. I had no idea Rock Choir was going to grow
like this – and to be honest, there‟s never any time to relax and celebrate any successes.
Every few weeks something new and exciting seems to happen, from just 70 people in
Farnham only 6 years ago – there are now 8000 members meeting me at Wembley, It‟s
astonishing when I step back and consider it. In 2009 after appearing on a television
breakfast show, I was finally offered a record deal! I signed a 4 album record contract with
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Universal, we won a Guinness World Record as „The largest Musical Act to Release an
Album (signed)‟ and our album went to no 1 in 5 different Amazon charts and entered the
UK mid week Chart at no 5, making Rock Choir the highest charting choir in history. It‟s
funny how the record deal came back to me, like a gift, but I was able to share it with a huge
family that made up Rock Choir.




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