The University of Exeter’s all-male a cappella group, Semi-Toned, have been crowned champions of Gareth Malone’s BBC Two competition: The Choir.
Semi-Toned represented the South West in the semi-finals, and emerged triumphant of the three final choirs to make it through, securing victory with a medley performance, beating De Montfort University’s Emmanu’EL Apostolic Gospel Academy Gospel Choir (EAGA). During the semi-finals, the group went through a “boot camp” stage, where they prepared for a performance in front of a panel of judges. Prior to their performances, the group was aided with the help of vocal and performance coaches.
Sylvan Rackham, the president of Semi-Toned said:
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have made it through to the final stage! The semi final was the toughest challenge yet, and Gareth really challenged us with his song choice of Candle in the Wind, but we learnt so much from it, particularly from our mentors, who helped us to find the real meaning in the song.”
The University of Exeter’s all-female A Cappella group, Sweet Nothings, were also featured on the show. However, they were eliminated at an earlier round, following a sing-off with Semi-Toned. Malone’s final stage of the competition saw Semi-Toned competing against fellow finalists the Bulmershe Ensemble from Reading and EAGA from Leicester. The Ensemble were eliminated first, before Semi-Toned saw EAGA off in a tense final round. Results were determined according to which one of the three groups received the most votes from an invited jury.
In doing so, Semi-Toned, have secured the title of ‘Britain’s most entertaining amateur choir.”
Henry Edwards, Semi-Toned’s tour manager for 2016/17 spoke to Exeposé about the group’s experience on The Choir: “When we first auditioned for The Choir, we never thought we were going to get very far.”
“But the further along we got, the more surreal it was and we’re all so excited for what is to come. We thoroughly enjoyed it and hopefully that’s reflected on TV as well.”
Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, said:
“We’re really proud of Semi-Toned – they’re well known across the University and they have a strong following, for good reason. Exeter has a vibrant A cappella scene and it’s been great to see these talented, motivated students showcased on a national stage.”
Semi-Toned earned the title of national champions at the Voice Festival UK, in April 2015. The group also perform at the Edinburgh Fringe every year. In August 2016, they sang songs from their new EP, Sing theory.
Furthermore, they introduced various new songs, including ‘All of the Lights’, ‘Get Back’ and ‘Come on Eileen.’ The group’s success also extends beyond the UK, touring the USA for the past two years. According to Edwards, the group plan to maintain this presence by touring America in April 2017.
Following on from their success, Semi-Toned have been given the honour to host the University of Exeter’s Forum Christmas light switch-on. The event occurred on Thursday 1 December at 4pm, where the group also filmed part of their music video for their Christmas Charity Single. The event promised a ‘festive fiesta’ at the forum piazza, including mince pies, mulled wine and sparklers, all of which was delivered.
Future Semi-Toned performances include a Christmas Sing-off with Sweet Nothings at The Terrace, by Queen Street, Exeter. The two A Capella groups will perform on Thursday 8 December at 8pm. Tickets are £5.15 if bought in advance, or £6.50 on the door.