Episode 6 The Big Performance


Episode 6

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Today, six of Britain's most talented

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young singer/song-writers...

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# Ah-ah-ah... #

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..after weeks of fine-tuning their musical skills...

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Ahh! Say it more!

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I am an expressive singer!

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..must sing live at the World War I centenary commemoration in Belgium.

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At the moment they're singing it like wannabe pop stars.

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This is not about them. This is about history.

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Are they ready to represent the nation

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at this prestigious international event...

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Well, in just a few hours my song is going to be heard

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by millions of people.

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..in front of the royal family and the Prime Minister?

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Break a leg.

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Can they do their own song justice with the world watching?

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If we get it wrong then there's no going back.

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This is their Big Performance.

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And...up.

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Today the group have to get on point as they head to ballet school.

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-Your arms into first position.

-Can't do it.

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They cross the Channel to Belgium,

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just as the soldiers did 100 years ago.

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Looking back on the white cliffs of Dover,

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it kind of feels like we're in their shoes now.

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And the singers step into the spotlight

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for the greatest challenge of their lives.

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It's a big, big performance.

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For the last five weeks the music maestros have been absorbed

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in all aspects of World War I...

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Gas, gas, gas!

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..to inspire their song-writing.

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-He was 19.

-Can't believe he's so young.

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And last time...

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# Stand tall

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# Be proud... #

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..after a tense final...

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Stand Up, Be Proud, by Molly.

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Molly's song was chosen for the group to perform

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at the commemoration in Belgium.

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I think yours just pipped it because it's an anthem.

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Now they must all come together and get it note perfect

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for their Big Performance.

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OK, everyone, we are going to Jake Gosling's studio.

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He's going to help us rehearse and to record the song

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so we can have a listen back to see how it's sounding.

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# And we danced all night to the best song ever... #

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Jake Gosling is a superstar music producer.

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He was a judge helping to pick Molly's song and has worked with

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pop royalty One Direction and Ed Sheeran.

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It's going to be really cool to be in a professional environment

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where so many amazing songs have been created.

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ALL: # Stand up

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# Be proud... #

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More used to writing pop tracks,

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the singers will need to learn to perform in a very different style.

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# We walk ahead as one. #

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It's not ready. It's not ready.

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At the moment they're singing it like kind of wannabe pop stars.

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# They are... #

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It's horrible. It's got to be very clean, very clear and very simple.

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It's a very...

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very direct message in this song and that's got to come through

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loud and clear.

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This is not about them. It's not "all about me"

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which a lot of singing is. This is about history.

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The group are going to perform in Belgium

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at the Saint Symphorien Cemetery.

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They will be part of a ceremony to mark of 100 years

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since the outbreak of World War I.

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During The Great War, 17 million people lost their lives

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in a conflict that lasted over four years.

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So it's vital that the group's performance is respectful

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and appropriate for the occasion.

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Follow me.

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-Hello, Jake.

-Hey. Welcome to Sticky Studios.

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This is definitely a different type of spot.

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It's weird to think so many,

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like, really famous people have been where we're standing.

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We once had One Direction down here

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and all the paps were hiding in the bushes over there.

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I've told them to keep away today, obviously.

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Well, enjoy it. I'll let you guys get on and I'll see you in a bit.

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Right.

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The main thing that we're lacking at the moment

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is the right sort of emotional look in our eyes.

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We've got to make sure that the text, the words that you've come up with

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are really, really clear and we're getting that message across.

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It's 100 years since World War I began and you, the next generation,

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are saying to everyone we should stand up and we're proud

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of everything that those soldiers did for us.

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It feels, like, beyond words to have my song represent this whole nation.

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But I don't think it's really my song - it's all of our song.

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There you go, just plonk yourselves down there.

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The group will be singing live on TV in front of millions of viewers,

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so Gareth needs to be sure that they sound like a commemorative choir

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rather than pop stars.

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And three, four.

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-ALL:

-# Stand up

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# Be proud... #

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Yeah, you're "Pr-pr-rah."

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# Stand up

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# Be proud. #

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Really important, Molly, you don't swoop.

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-ALL:

-# Every generation

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# Standing... #

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I'm going to stop you one more time.

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It's not every genera-TION.

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It's # EVERY generation... #

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Does the make sense? You've got the emphasis the wrong way round.

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It's # EVERY generation... #

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As the songwriter, Molly sings the first line.

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Hi, come on in. How you doing?

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So it's up to her to set the right tone for the occasion.

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# Where once was war... #

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-Just say to me "where once was war."

-Where once was war.

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Say it really clear like I'd never heard it before.

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Where was once war.

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Just explain to me the words, just say them.

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"Where once was war..."

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Where once was war, now there's peace.

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The battle is over, now friendship has come.

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The dirt, the mud, now the poppies blossom.

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Yeah, that's not...explaining it to me.

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-I mean, "Where once was war, now there's PEACE."

-Oh, right.

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-# Where once was war... #

-Tell me.

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-# Now there's peace... #

-Tell me.

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# The battle is over

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# Friendship has come

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# The dirt, the mud

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-# Now the poppies blossom... #

-Yes!

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Good. Listen...

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I think...I really get the emotion when you do that.

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Because you're really clearly telling me the words.

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It's a very simple song, this.

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There's a clear message about standing up and being proud.

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And that message has got to come across.

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And if they're just sort of singing for themselves,

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that doesn't make it to the audience.

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But the singers don't seem to have picked up on Gareth's concerns.

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I'm feeling really confident about heading off the Belgium and

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doing our performance because the rehearsals are going really well.

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'We sound pretty good at the moment'

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because we're just working on it, we're absolutely making it perfect.

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Come on in.

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Gareth wants them to hear what he can,

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so it's time to hit the studio.

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Right.

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OK, everyone, you get one chance in Belgium,

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so we're going to have one chance here. Just going to do it once

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and then I want you to come in and have a listen to how you sound.

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So, your first chance to hear yourselves as a group, properly.

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-ALL:

-# Stand up

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# Be proud

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# They are all our heroes

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# For light

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# For peace... #

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It's all going well until Molly misses her cue.

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Come in, sit on the sofa, and let's have a listen.

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'# For light

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'# For peace

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'# We walk ahead as one. #'

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Ben, Molly, what did you think?

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well, I think it went well but there's always areas

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for improvement, and there is area for improvement.

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As a whole I think we did really well

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and my little bit that I forgot, I actually totally forgot about it.

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This is what concerns is me

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is everyone seems very cool about this so far

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and everyone's relaxed.

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I keep asking you how you're feeling about it - "Oh, yeah, totally fine."

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"Yeah, it's going to be great."

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And then we get to it and I say, "Right, it's now."

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And that's when it goes wrong. And that's what has to not happen.

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You have to get your head in the game.

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It's just making sure all those details are there.

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Once you've got it and rehearsed and rehearsed it, then you enjoy it,

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you know, and make it that performance that it needs to be,

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-get that emotion across.

-It's not as easy as it looks, is it?

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Gareth's been tough on the group

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because he knows how good they can be.

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BEATBOXING

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In order to sound like a choir, they need to look like one.

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'Hello, everyone. I'm so sorry I can't be there

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'but today I'm conducting at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall.

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'It's not long now till we all go to Belgium

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'and I'm really excited about it.

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'In order to help you get ready I want you to have the right posture,

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'the right attitude. You are going to have...a ballet lesson.'

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ALL TALK OVER EACH OTHER

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The English National Ballet has been training ballerinas

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for almost 65 years.

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So where better for the group to learn some poise, grace and elegance

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than from award-winning dancer, Barry Drummond?

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Gareth mentioned that often you guys look a bit

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more like a pop group which obviously isn't exactly

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appropriate for the performance you're going to be giving.

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Ballet is going to be a really good way for you guys to give

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a more sophisticated performance.

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So if you want to go and get yourselves ready, we'll get started.

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We are going to start with the demi plie.

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Down and up,

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and two.

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I think we all kind of need to make sure we're focused

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and I think ballet might help us with that.

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Very good. Everybody looking straight forward,

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don't look down.

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Keep your shoulders and your hips nice and still, try not to fidget.

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My biggest weakness is probably fidgeting at the moment

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because I always move my ankles

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and fiddle with my shirt or anything so I need to stop doing that.

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Although one of the most confident performers in the group,

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Ben's expressive style has always concerned Gareth.

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I move my hands a lot because I'm a guitar player.

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And I jump around a lot because I used to be in a band.

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But he became more focused

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when learning about the role of his ancestor during the war.

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Finding out about my great great grandfather made me

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feel very proud because, to know that he was helping out in the war,

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I felt more connected to World War I.

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With only days to go until the Big Performance,

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will he be able to keep his cool on the biggest stage of his life?

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I think the hardest thing about the performance will be standing still

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because I will be very nervous.

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Barry has a ballet exercise to help fix his fidgeting.

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We are going to do a balance on one leg,

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but on what's called demi pointe,

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which is basically the balls of your feet.

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Yes, and then take your arms into first position.

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HE SIGHS

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HE LAUGHS

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That's good, that's good.

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As soon as you wobble, you're going to fall over.

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Really, really hold your stomach muscles.

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That's pretty good, that's pretty good.

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The more still that you are, the easier it is to balance.

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Almost. I think it needs a bit of practice

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but I think it's something that is going to be good for you to work on.

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PIANO PLAYS CLASSIC MUSIC

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Step behind, side, front.

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Step behind, side, front.

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MUSIC STOPS

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Well done, guys. That was really, really great.

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I can already see a really massive difference in the way you

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hold yourselves, your posture.

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I'm sure you guys are going to do a really, really great job.

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THEY CHEER

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PIANO PLAYS

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The day has finally arrived,

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the singers are heading to Belgium for their Big Performance.

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But they're minus someone very important.

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Gareth has a prior engagement as he's conducting

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the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall and will be joining them tomorrow.

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-Hello, everyone! ALL:

-Hello.

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Hi. The next time I see you, we'll all be in Belgium

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and we will be getting ready for our Big Performance. Are you excited?

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-ALL:

-Yes!

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You're going to have a very important rehearsal.

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That rehearsal is your chance to prove to everyone

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that you can do it.

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Make sure you use that time, you concentrate,

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you take on board everything that everyone says to you,

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and you try your very hardest to react to that.

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Good luck.

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See you later, bye.

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-ALL:

-Bye!

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Before this whole experience, if somebody had told me

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I was going to be performing on live TV in front of Royals,

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representing the nation, I wouldn't have believed them.

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Accompanying the group on the next leg of their trip, will be

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Gareth's right hand man, musician Max Cooke.

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# Explosions... #

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He's worked with superstar Leona Lewis and was a key member of

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Ellie Goulding's band for four years,

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touring with her all over the world.

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Having spent years on the road, he knows how important it is

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to practise every chance you get.

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# We walk ahead as one. #

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Just hear that chord going on in your head and sing around it.

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The group have made it to Dover and spirits are high.

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Belgium here we come!

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CHEERING

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I think the kids are all very excited. My one

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concern is that they don't get carried away with that

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and take their eye off the ball.

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But as the mainland disappears from view excitement turns to reflection.

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The kids are reminded of the journey the soldiers took 100 years ago.

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The thought of not coming home - that's it, that's your home,

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you've left that now, now you're going on to the future.

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It's kind of scary to think - what's ahead?

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All of our songs were adding up to leaving and going off to the war

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and actually seeing, looking back on the White Cliffs of Dover

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it kind of feels like we're in their shoes now.

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Molly's thoughts are with her great great grandfather

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who was a despatch rider on the home front.

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I am connected to World War I so I think I'm going to be

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thinking about him while I'm singing the song.

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The group will perform at the unique SaintSymphorien cemetery

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in Belgium.

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It was built by the Germans during World War I as a resting place

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for German and British soldiers killed at the Battle of Mons.

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Over 500 men are buried here, including Private John Parr,

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the first British casualty of the Great War.

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It's the only cemetery to honour men who fell from both

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sides of the conflict.

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Looking round this place this seems like so many people to die.

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Walking on to the site for the first time is overwhelming for everyone.

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I never thought we would be this close to them.

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It's, erm, quite daunting.

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When Jasmine arrived at Big Performance HQ

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she was one of the strongest singers.

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# Want to get out in the world... #

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But no World War I history buff.

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Right back in my auditions I got off to a really bad start with Gareth

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because I said that the war lasted for 37 days.

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-No, it didn't, it was four years.

-Oh.

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A spell in the trenches made the reality of the conflict hit home.

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They had to be doing this just for our country.

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I think I've improved a lot in my knowledge

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and it will help me a lot.

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SINGING

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The performance is broadcast live on BBC TV

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so the technical rehearsal is to check sound levels

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and camera angles as well as lighting.

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SINGING

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The group have never experienced anything like it before.

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It's really exciting knowing that there's so much cameras and

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it's going to be broadcast on national TV.

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All of the camera crew, all of... like

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these lighting effects, it makes us feel very important.

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And Max fears it's all a bit distracting.

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I worry that the spark might get lost in, in the frenzy,

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the-the... when they've done it really at their best

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it's, it's moving and it's alive and today was more about -

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"Oh, who can hear what? Where am I supposed to be looking?"

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And, hopefully, things will even out

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and we'll get the best of all of the ways it's been.

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The day has arrived

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and the countdown has begun to the Big Performance.

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In just a few hours my song is going to be heard by millions of people.

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It's just amazing.

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It's live TV, it's going out in loads of different countries.

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Um, so if we get it wrong then there's no going back.

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The group head to Mons town square to be reunited with Gareth.

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Hello, everyone! So good to see you, we're in Belgium.

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-ALL:

-Yeah!

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This is what we've worked so hard for - the moment is now.

0:18:390:18:42

Shall we go and get ready for the performance?

0:18:420:18:45

-ALL:

-Yes.

-Come on.

0:18:450:18:46

So, just one last thing - as a little boost before we go to perform

0:18:490:18:52

I've got some messages from our celebrity friends.

0:18:520:18:55

First one - is...

0:18:550:18:57

Conor Maynard. ALL CHEER

0:18:570:18:59

How's it going, guys, Conor Maynard. I just want to send you

0:18:590:19:02

this quick video to say it was amazing to meet you

0:19:020:19:04

and to wish you the best of luck with your

0:19:040:19:07

Big Performance in Belgium. You got it!

0:19:070:19:09

ALL: Aw!

0:19:090:19:10

The next one is from...

0:19:100:19:12

Eliza Doolittle.

0:19:120:19:13

ALL: Whoa!

0:19:130:19:15

Hey, guys!

0:19:150:19:16

I was very impressed when I met you and heard you,

0:19:160:19:19

look forward to hearing some more from you guys.

0:19:190:19:22

And good luck in Belgium.

0:19:220:19:24

-ALL:

-Yeah.

-That's nice, isn't it?

0:19:250:19:28

The last one is a very special message,

0:19:280:19:29

it's from the man that wrote War Horse.

0:19:290:19:33

-Michael Morpurgo.

-Wow!

-I know.

0:19:330:19:36

I think what you're doing is extraordinary,

0:19:360:19:38

to make up a song, write a song...

0:19:380:19:41

and then to sing it

0:19:410:19:42

and about a subject that's...

0:19:420:19:45

so difficult, so moving and so important as it is at the moment

0:19:450:19:48

and do it in public as you're doing here...

0:19:480:19:51

is a huge challenge and I wish you well.

0:19:510:19:53

All I can say is, mean it... when you write it,

0:19:530:19:57

mean it when you sing it

0:19:570:20:00

and that will mean a lot to...

0:20:000:20:02

to everyone and the way we remember it.

0:20:020:20:05

-Oh.

-What a lovely message.

0:20:050:20:07

Doesn't that give you an idea of just how big this is?

0:20:070:20:10

It's a perfect confidence booster for all of us.

0:20:100:20:12

Back in Mons, the world media descends on the town

0:20:140:20:17

as it gears up to welcome Princes William and Harry

0:20:170:20:20

and the Duchess of Cambridge.

0:20:200:20:22

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:20:220:20:24

Just a short distance away, the group arrive on location and

0:20:250:20:29

head straight into wardrobe to get changed

0:20:290:20:32

but there's barely time to take a breath before interviews

0:20:320:20:35

-with Newsround...

-How are you feeling?

0:20:350:20:37

I'm extremely nervous.

0:20:370:20:39

And for Molly and Gareth,

0:20:390:20:41

an appearance on the BBC's live coverage.

0:20:410:20:43

We've done Newsround, we're now going to go on Sophie Raworth's

0:20:430:20:46

show on BBC Two, that's in the build-up to the actual event

0:20:460:20:49

and it's really good cos it's making us all feel -

0:20:490:20:52

"This is live, this is serious."

0:20:520:20:54

I'm joined here by two people who will be performing here

0:20:540:20:57

later on this evening, Gareth Malone, the choirmaster,

0:20:570:21:00

and Molly, who is 12.

0:21:000:21:02

Now, tell us what you've been doing - why you're here.

0:21:020:21:05

Well, we've written a song to commemorate World War I.

0:21:050:21:09

It's called Stand Up Be Proud...

0:21:090:21:11

Molly... I'm terribly proud of her,

0:21:110:21:13

she's written a beautiful song and will be singing a beautiful solo.

0:21:130:21:16

-Well done, congratulations.

-Thank you.

0:21:160:21:19

-And very good luck with it tonight.

-Thank you very much.

0:21:190:21:22

If the singers weren't feeling nervous enough

0:21:220:21:24

they've just been told to expect a visit.

0:21:240:21:26

From a very important person.

0:21:260:21:29

The Prime Minister of Great Britain, David Cameron...

0:21:290:21:33

-No.

-No way!

-Yes.

-No way.

0:21:330:21:35

-ALL:

-No. This can't be happening...

0:21:350:21:37

The Prime Minister would like to meet you.

0:21:370:21:39

Very pleased to see you. Can I introduce you to the

0:21:420:21:44

-young people who are performing...?

-Brilliant...

0:21:440:21:46

What do you do before you sing? How do you exercise the vocal cords?

0:21:460:21:49

ALL TALK OVER EACH OTHER

0:21:490:21:51

Humming? A spoonful of honey?

0:21:510:21:55

-Oh, yeah.

-Breathing?

0:21:550:21:57

-My mum always told me "a spoonful of honey."

-Spoonful of honey.

0:21:570:22:00

Have you got the honey? Gareth?!

0:22:000:22:02

ALL CHATTER AND LAUGH

0:22:020:22:05

Anyway, best of luck. What is it? Break a leg?

0:22:050:22:08

It's such an honour to speak to someone who's head of the country.

0:22:080:22:11

I think it's just really an amazing experience

0:22:110:22:14

for somebody that's my age.

0:22:140:22:16

Joining our royal family at the event is an awe-inspiring

0:22:210:22:25

list of VIPs, including the King and Queen of Belgium,

0:22:250:22:28

the French, German and Irish Presidents

0:22:280:22:31

and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

0:22:310:22:33

Your Royal Highnesses, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the

0:22:430:22:47

SaintSymphorien military cemetery.

0:22:470:22:49

I'm feeling so nervous, I mean, it's right there, that's where

0:22:510:22:54

we're going to be performing.

0:22:540:22:56

This is it and this the final time we're going to get to do it

0:22:560:22:59

and so... just ready for it.

0:22:590:23:01

Weeks of preparation, hours of practice all come down to

0:23:020:23:06

this one moment as the group prepare to perform.

0:23:060:23:09

This is it, make it really good, nice and still.

0:23:090:23:13

Be proud, you've done a wonderful job, great song,

0:23:130:23:16

sing with soul and heart.

0:23:160:23:19

-Enjoy it. Shall we go? ALL:

-Yes.

0:23:190:23:21

In a unique project, six of Britain's most talented

0:23:240:23:27

younger singer-songwriters have come together to write

0:23:270:23:30

and perform a song that marks the centenary of the First World War.

0:23:300:23:33

Along the way they've discovered what their ancestors

0:23:330:23:36

did in the War, they've learnt about terrible conditions that

0:23:360:23:39

young soldiers had to suffer, and the importance of remembrance.

0:23:390:23:43

The chosen song, written by 12-year-old Molly from Huddersfield,

0:23:430:23:48

expresses their hope for the future and is called Stand Up, Be Proud.

0:23:480:23:53

# Oh-ooh-oh-ooh

0:23:550:23:58

# Oh-ooh-oh-ooh

0:23:590:24:01

# Oh-ooh-oh-ooh

0:24:020:24:04

# Oh-ooh

0:24:050:24:08

# Where once was war

0:24:080:24:11

# Now there's peace

0:24:110:24:14

# The battle is over

0:24:140:24:17

# Friendship has come

0:24:170:24:20

# The dirt, the mud

0:24:200:24:24

# Now the poppies blossom

0:24:240:24:30

# They fought, they fell

0:24:300:24:33

# Stand up, be proud

0:24:330:24:36

# They are all our heroes

0:24:360:24:40

# For light, for peace

0:24:400:24:44

# We walk ahead as one

0:24:440:24:47

# Stand up, be proud

0:24:470:24:50

# They are all our heroes

0:24:500:24:53

# For light, for peace

0:24:530:24:58

# We walk ahead as one

0:24:580:25:01

# Oh-ooh-oh-ooh

0:25:010:25:04

# Oh-ooh-oh-ooh

0:25:040:25:07

# Every generation standing as one

0:25:070:25:13

# We look to the future We look to the light

0:25:130:25:20

-# Stand up

-Stand up

0:25:200:25:22

-# Be proud

-Be proud

0:25:220:25:24

# They are all our heroes

0:25:240:25:26

# For light, for peace

0:25:260:25:30

# We walk ahead as one

0:25:300:25:33

-# Stand up

-Stand up

0:25:330:25:35

# Be proud

0:25:350:25:37

# They are all our heroes

0:25:370:25:39

# For light, for peace

0:25:390:25:45

# In the fields of France

0:25:470:25:50

# Hearts are full of hope

0:25:500:25:53

-# They gave their future

-They gave their future

0:25:530:25:57

-# They gave us their lives

-They gave us their lives

0:25:570:26:01

# Stand up, be proud

0:26:010:26:03

-# They are all our heroes

-They gave us their lives

0:26:030:26:06

# For light, for peace

0:26:060:26:10

# We walk ahead as one

0:26:100:26:13

# Stand up

0:26:130:26:14

# Be proud

0:26:140:26:16

# They are all heroes

0:26:160:26:19

# For light, for peace

0:26:190:26:25

# We walk ahead as one. #

0:26:250:26:32

They've done it! The group delivered a faultless performance to

0:26:370:26:40

make their ancestors proud.

0:26:400:26:43

That was just amazing.

0:26:440:26:46

I'm proud of everyone. It's so cool.

0:26:460:26:48

That was fantastic, I'm so pleased, my heart was in my mouth.

0:26:480:26:53

That was absolutely amazing,

0:26:550:26:57

I really just want to go out there and do it again.

0:26:570:26:59

I think we all did a really good job,

0:26:590:27:01

we couldn't have got any better.

0:27:010:27:02

There were no mistakes, or I didn't hear any.

0:27:020:27:05

I will always remember this.

0:27:050:27:06

It's one of the biggest days of my life so far.

0:27:060:27:09

Throughout the song I was thinking about my relative in the War

0:27:090:27:12

and about the soldiers in the trenches.

0:27:120:27:16

I was really trying to picture that so it helped me perform.

0:27:160:27:19

We set out to write a song that would do justice to this

0:27:190:27:21

occasion and to the memory of all of the people who are buried around us

0:27:210:27:25

and as we sang it, I thought, we've done this, this song works.

0:27:250:27:29

I think we did deliver, I think the song was fitted to the occasion.

0:27:290:27:34

To be here on this special day, I'd talked about it for months,

0:27:340:27:38

but you felt it today, this was historic, it was amazing.

0:27:380:27:42

# For light, for peace

0:27:440:27:47

# We walk ahead as one

0:27:470:27:49

# Stand up, be proud

0:27:490:27:53

# They are all our heroes

0:27:530:27:57

# For light, for peace

0:27:570:28:02

# We walk ahead as one. #

0:28:020:28:08

It is the final week for choirmaster Gareth Malone and the singer-songwriters and they are on their way to their big finale at the St Symphorien cemetery in Belgium. Here these six soloists perform the chosen song together and honour those who fought and died in the First World War. But can they perform as a group? With a worldwide TV audience and Prince William and Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge and prime minister David Cameron in attendance, can their song sum up the feelings of a nation about one of the biggest events in world history?


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