So this week I listened to the Podcast of Gareth Malone on Desert Island Discs, first broadcast (but missed by me) on Christmas Day last year. I think this was a ‘special’ interview for Kirsty Young and she seemed captivated by his charm, wit and sheer humanity. Time and again I found myself smiling as I tuned in – at one point I wondered what all the other passengers on the train were making of my broad grins.
Gareth Malone has become something of a National Treasure over the last ten years. He has brought choirs and singing back onto prime-time TV. He is so passionate about music and singing and that seems to become ‘infectious’. I loved this Podcast.
Perhaps, for me, the most moving part of the interview came as he described the difficulty he had singing a solo at his Grandma’s funeral. She obviously meant the world to him and he so wanted to sing for her one last time. Yet, this man who has coached thousands to sing, couldn’t find his voice on that occasion. He said, it felt for the first time as if he experienced in himself the fear, panic and inability to sing which he had so often before dismissed in others.
At that moment when he opened his mouth and nothing came out his dad joined in (which made things even worse!) and then his old music teacher made it into a trio.
Eventually he regained his nerve, the other two stood down, and Gareth Malone sang, as he so dearly wanted to, for his Granny.
Well, I just thought it was a beautiful story about family and about love.
And those things are about God and the way we sense and experience him in the here and now – even through our croaky singing!