EXPECT to see pink feathers strewn across this weekend’s TV schedule – A Handbag of Harmonies are hitting prime time.
Millions will watch the first episode of Last Choir Standing on BBC1 this Saturday to see the Chester women’s choir auditioning for the new reality TV show.
And tonight (Friday) at 5pm the choir will perform live on Richard and Judy’s Channel 4 chat show.
They are featured in this month’s Hello magazine and will be interviewed in The Daily Mail tomorrow (Saturday).
Choir member Annie Gregory is so excited she has already set her video to record the entire series.
Annie, a district nurse from Handbridge, said: “I have even recorded the adverts and watched them over and over again – it is really surreal to be involved in such a big show.”
In the first episode, the choir perform Britney Spears and Judy Garland songs in front of judges Russell Watson, Sharon D Clarke and Suzi Digby at London’s Cadogan Hall.
The choir is through to the top 60 finalists, who will be whittled down during the programme to the final 27.
Claire Smith, who founded the choir with director Matt Baker eight years ago, said: “When we arrived at Cadogan Hall we suddenly realised what a high-profile programme we had got ourselves into.”
Annie remembers the audition – filmed in May – for more painful reasons than most.
“That morning I fell over and broke two toes, but didn’t have time to go to hospital so I put my shoe on and didn’t take it off all day. I was horrified at the end of the day when I realised my foot was black and blue.”
Birmingham University music student Georgina West, who lives in Guilden Sutton, says the choir will stand out because of its relaxed, fun approach.
“A lot of my friends have been surprised to discover this new side of me, because they think of me as a classical musician who plays serious music.
“We call the different sections of the choir high squeaks, low squeaks, alto and melody, we learn songs from tapes instead of sheet music and we dance with handbags and pink feather boas.
“For my end of term recital I played Benjamin Britten and Malcolm Arnold oboe pieces – it is a big jump to Britney Spears.”
Claire is intrigued to see about how they will be portrayed in the show.
“Initially it seems like they are going to portray us as the “handbag-wielding Cheshire housewives”, but we hope we can prove we are more than that.
“It is important to us that we have the support of Chester because the choir has sprung from the community.
“Our ethos is to create a party wherever we go and make a stand as women, being empowered and inspired by music.”
To find out how A Handbag of Harmonies get on in the auditions this weekend see www.chesterchronicle.co.uk and the Midweek Chronicle.
See A Handbag of Harmonies on Richard and Judy, Channel 4, tonight at 5pm and on Last Choir Standing on BBC1 tomorrow (Saturday) at 7.45pm.