Amateur and professional performers from around the country are being brought together in a new initiative announced by former Bournemouth School pupil Gareth Malone.

The choirmaster, composer and television presenter, who was educated in Dorset and also sang with the Symphony Chorus of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, has launched The Great British Home Chorus to give everyone the opportunity to contribute their voice and instruments to an ambitious digital music project.

Conceived in the light of many closures to communal rehearsal spaces nationwide as we embark on the next stage of the COVID-19 outbreak, Gareth hopes to boost moral across the country through the power of music.

Viewers of ITV’s This Morning saw broadcaster Esther Rantzen, speaking from self-isolation in her New Forest home, thinking aloud about ways in which public figures could help those most vulnerable around the country: “I’ve had an idea… we’ve got a great British product called ‘Gareth Malone’ – why doesn’t he create a choir out of all of us…?”

Inspired by videos accumulating millions of views from ordinary people under national quarantine in Italy, singing operatic anthems in full voice, Gareth began to consider how he could help the effort back in Britain.

“We have an incredibly rich tradition of community music-making in Britain, whether that be amateur choirs, youth orchestras or regional theatre companies," he said.

"We now find ourselves in unprecedented times, and while we will find that in the coming weeks the lights on concert halls and rehearsal rooms will go dark, this shouldn’t mean we have to stop making music altogether.”

Gareth’s task is now to spread the word of his new venture to reach homes and communities across the UK, planning to coach followers through the process over the coming weeks, helping them stream music or interact with communities online.

“Not since the First World War and the Spanish Flu outbreak have we been forced to stop coming together physically in order to share the gift of music with one another. Whether we like it or not, this pandemic will change the way we work, the way we make music and the way we value community – why not make it be a change for the better?”