Jon Cohen Music

Producer Arranger Composer

gareth malone

To count or not to count?....

Unknown
Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
Put another way; Don’t be premature in positively evaluating your assets.
Or,
Don’t
just assume you have a number one record at Christmas when the race is not yet fully run.

But seriously...
Three hundred thousand singles sold in two days...
That’s 1.74 singles every second.
It’s a tower of CDs one and half kilometres high.
Laid end to end, the CD singles would stretch for 42 kilometres.
If you tried to lift them all at once they would weigh around 18,000 kg (ok Smartie, the downloads weigh less and take up less room...)

The last time a single sold this quickly, Blair and Bush were in power, the economy was booming and Big Brother attracted audience figures in
actual double digits or more.

It’s looking pretty good.

Yes, I suppose it is conceivable that aliens from a distant world may land between now and the end of business on Saturday (the point up to which the weekly chart is calculated). They may be possessed of a love for TV game show winners.
I suppose if there are enough of them, and providing they remembered to buy some local currency before setting off, (Pounds by the way, NO EUROS) then maybe victory might be cruelly snatched from within our grasp, and Little Mix may retain their position at number one.

It ain’t over until the (perfectly normally sized and obviously not wanting to stigmatise those of any particular physical proportions) lady sings.

We can’t
really celebrate a number one until we actually have one.

Still, I’m seriously proud of Gareth, the wonderful wives and everything we’ve done together.


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Guest blog


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Military Wives Choir member Claire Balneaves on what the choir has meant to her.



It was November, when the letterbox rattled. My 5 month old son was napping, husband was at work.
The leaflet stated that production company twentytwenty were looking to film a documentary with the Bafta award winning Gareth Malone, who would start up a choir to ‘show the world that the wives and girlfriends of Royal Marines Barracks Chivenor have the talent, character and community spirit to produce a truly fantastic choir; whilst their husbands and partners are serving on Operations in Afghanistan that we can all be proud of.’

My initial reaction was, “ A documentary here in sleepy North Devon? Wow but no thank you!”
Invasion of cameras in my family life was not for me, or so I thought. I slept on it and my longing to be able to sing started to take over. I had always been told I was tone deaf by my older brother, yet it was my dream to be able to sing. I had never sung in front of anyone, my audience was normally the shower head, bubbles in the bath or the car windscreen turning up the stereo to ensure my voice was drowned out even thought I was singing at the top of my voice. Could I do it? Would I ever get an opportunity to learn to sing like this ever again?

My husband is a Royal Navy Medical Assistant. This would be his second tour in Afghanistan. The first was very worrying and scary, but I had work to take my mind of it and thankfully apart from a very close shave with a bullet, he came home with only a small scar. Now, he was gearing up to go back out on Op Herrick 14. An uneasy silence descended on our house, the endless waiting for deployment day loomed, the inevitable delays and changes to dates happened. Then as quick as it was long, he was gone, off to work with random strangers, to have their lives in his hands and equally his in theirs.

When he left our son was 8 months old, had just started crawling, he wouldn’t know what was happening but I would. I would see his developments and curse this deployment, wondering if my husband knew what he was missing back home.

And then it started; rehearsals for the choir. I nervously went along to the first one with the view that I wouldn’t like it or I would be found to be tone deaf and sent home. It never happened, I loved it. Every week, twice a week I dutifully went along and had a good old sing song. It was hard work and quite often monotonous, but what was happening within the Choir far outweighed the negatives, and we actually sounded good!

Suddenly Chivenor was alight with new friendships being made, practices around each other’s houses, the occasional bottle of wine being shared, helping each other out when someone was in a pickle, a good old fashioned community had emerged.

The tour was still hard for those of us left behind. The constant worry, the wondering if he will manage to phone, the avoidance of the news in dreaded fear of hearing that someone was being given the worst news possible, and the guilt when someone was, that it wasn’t you. However, now I had people who were in the same boat as me, who I could ring up and say I’m having a bad day and they would understand, people I could share my highs and lows with on a daily basis and this was all down to the choir.

We had shared experiences that many people would not have understood, the nerves, standing waiting for your turn to go on stage, having a TV camera shoved in your faces when you have tears streaming because of a particular lyric or tune asking you for your thoughts. Time seemed to pass quickly when we were rehearsing and on the occasions when we were on a filming break the weeks dragged by, we started pinning for the normality of choir rehearsals.

Suddenly the Regiments and our loved ones started coming back, mucking up our routines, making the house untidy, taking over the remote control, and who could I tell that would understand? My other family, my choir ladies of course.

Who would have imagined 8 months ago that I would have been part of a choir who have sung at Sandhurst Officer Training Academy, or performed at the Festival of Remembrance in the Royal Albert Hall in front of the Queen and Royal Family. Not only that, as I sit here and write this The Choir are releasing a single, which has a very good chance of reaching Christmas number 1, with a song composed especially for us.

More importantly for me, this choir has given me that ‘old fashioned’ sense of community. It’s brought me together with other women I can rely on, and who I can honestly say, will be friends for life, whether they want to or not. It has also given us the platform at last to stand up and declare to the whole world that ‘We are Military families and we are proud to support our loved ones, wherever they are,’ something that we don’t often get the chance to do.






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Producing the Military Wives Choir

military wives choirRecording Paul Mealor’s touching song Wherever You Are, was one of the most rewarding and moving projects of my career so far. Those who followed the BBC series The Choir Military Wives will know that the song was composed using actual letters from the choir members to their partners and husbands who were serving abroad (mainly in Afghanistan).
This added a poignancy and depth to the song rarely found in music nowadays, whilst still remaining on the safe side of schmaltzy or over-sentimental.

This profound connection between lyrics and those singing them was palpable in the room whilst we recorded, and even more evident when we all gathered at the end of the recording session to listen to what we’d done. Not that many in the room could remain dry-eyed (me included!) The hugely talented Gareth Malone has done an amazing job of moulding these women into a really lovely sounding ensemble with a well blended sound and accessible tone.
I know I’m biased, but I think the record sounds great!
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