A CHOIR leader has invited TV judge Suzi Digby for a drink and a chat about why she turned from championing the choir to comparing them to primary school singers.
Matt Baker, musical director of a Handbag of Harmonies, says he and the choir members were “thoroughly disappointed” to be knocked out of BBC talent search Last Choir Standing last Saturday night.
The choir got through to the final 15 but were the first in their group of five choirs to be knocked out of the show after singing Downtown and Build Me Up Buttercup for judges Suzi Digby, Russell Watson and Sharon D Clarke.
In the first show, Digby said the Handbags could be the nation’s favourite choir.
But before they were knocked out, she said the arrangement of Buttercup was too simple and could be matched by “a good primary school choir”.
Matt, who helped form the choir eight years ago, challenged her comments, telling her the song is a complex harmony but the choir works very hard to make it sound simple.
This week he told The Chronicle: “I have had an overwhelming number of messages defending us against Suzi. Most people say that they wanted to throw a brick at the TV.
“It was a long wait between filming and broadcast but since Saturday we have been inundated with messages of support from well outside our usual fan base.
“It made us feel a lot better but also made me feel frustrated that based on our performance that night there was no way we should have gone out and we even had the chance to be one of the two best choirs who go forward to the studio and audience votes.
“I would love to sit and have a cup of tea with Suzi Digby to find out what she really thought and why she went from being our champion at the start of the show to turning on us at the end. Some of the comments are inconsistent and even contradictory.”
Matt, who juggled Last Choir Standing with his role as musical director of Chester Mystery Plays, is now starting rehearsals for the latest Theatre in the Quarter production, Garden Lane: The Musical, which explores the street’s history. It is showing from September 3-6 at the new racecourse pavilion.
The Handbags are now taking a well-earned summer break before returning to rehearsals and concerts.
He said: “We have had a lot of interest in bookings from around Chester and further afield which will make for an exciting few months.
“The choir has put in such unbelievable commitment this summer. I have been incredibly proud of them and I know that our musical broad shoulders are well prepared to do bigger and better things.”