When English teacher Katie Paine opened the doors of her school choir rehearsal last term only 12 students entered the area.
But, inspired by her favourite Television show which she knew was loved by her pupils, she chose to try something different.
At Surrey’s Effingham school’s first Glee Club rehearsal, over 50 eager students turned up, hoping to be transformed into the dazzlingly-attired, perfectly-timed and always-in-tune show choir in the US Television show, which ended now.
Effingham is just one of several schools feeling the Glee effect, as traditional singing groups throughout the UK transform themselves into show choirs, encouraging teenagers to begin singing initially.
The comedy-musical show charts the tale of the group of teenagers in the US senior high school show choir, or glee club. The politically-correct cast – including the school’s star football player, a feisty African-American, a gay teen plus a student in the wheelchair – work their way via a number of good-time tunes, along with a large serving of self-deprecating humour.
“The hype in the programme has really caught on, they find it irresistible,” said Paine, who choreographs the choir, while music teacher Amy Whiterod takes care of the singing.
“We have categories of sixthformers asking to come and exercise at lunchtimes and you can see Glee clubbers practising the dance moves in groups.”
Michael Raven, 14, joined Glee club three weeks ago: “I’d watched the programme plus it just appeared like a lot fun. I believe other kids maybe thought singing was boring but it’s caused it to be more exciting.”
No prizes for guessing his favourite song, it’s actually a Glee favourite. “Don’t Stop Believin’ – it simply making you feel so competent,” he was quoted saying.
It is not only schools who are going insane for Glee. Helen Price, in the Choir of year said there has been a 30% rise in the number of choirs entering competition. “It has definitely had an effect. It’s much more fun pc used to be, there is this sense seeing that anything goes,” she said.
Rather than 20 pubescent girls caterwauling for the Sound of Silence, young choristers desire to sing pop songs, with Michael Jackson, Abba and Queen all favourites. “It’s perfect for the singers, as if they build relationships their repertoire it provides them more confidence plus they really belt it out,” said Price.
Glee indoctrination also seems to be starting early. Sing Up, a nationwide singing programme targeted at primary young children, has noticed a growth inside the variety of pop songs downloaded from its site for teaching purposes. Celi Barberia, from Sing Up, said: “Music is starting to be considered a thing that is cool. A lot of choirs are actually achieving this form of thing already, but that is bringing it into the public arena.”
The Glee effect might even be spreading at night school gate. Jay Kamiraz, whose Soul of Prophecy gospel choir continues to be going since 2004, has been hired to perform a Glee workshop for unemployed parents in Tower Hamlets in east London.
“It’s become such a big thing, everybody wants the Glee experience,” he said.
Alison Duncan, who may have just started a Glee club at GEMS Sherfield school in Hampshire is convinced from the important things about finding yourself in a singing group. “Singing produces endorphins and is also very therapeutic, and it’s really just the thing for teaching your children to become section of a team.”
Renaming school choirs Glee Club has also helped with the perennial problem facing choir leaders: how to build more boys. Alex Chestney-Stagg, 14, who has just joined, explained why he previously never sung in a very group before. “Singing in a choir has not been exactly seen as the manliest or coolest action to take,” he explained. “But Glee has opened it up to anyone. I like the fact we get to sing contemporary songs, not hymns, and it’s a great way of meeting different people.”
The cast people in Glee may have heard each of the words and movements to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance instantaneously – where you can perfectly formed bubble dress to perform in – but students know much better than to get unrealistic expectations with their first rehearsals, said Duncan.
“It’s an excellent lesson in delayed gratification,” she said. “The kids have observed the show and understand that final results might be fantastic so they are going to work on it.”
At the moment, there is little change of the competition that is certainly a fundamental portion of the scene in america but which might be gonna change. Choir of the Year are launching a National Glee competition in 2012.