Former UEA drama student, Gareth Malone, has been crowned Christmas Number One for 2011 along with the Military Wives Choir, with the song Wherever You Are.
Malone, who describes himself as an “animateur, presenter and populariser of choral singing,” first made a name for himself with the BBC Two reality television series The Choir. In November 2011 he travelled to Afghanistan for his programme The Choir: Military Wives, where he created a choir from wives and personnel of soliders deployed to Afghanistan.
Wherever You Are, which beat X-Factor winners Little Mix to the top spot, sold 556,000 copies in the week prior to Christmas, more than the rest of the top 12 combined, according to the Official Charts Company.
The song is composed of a series of love letters, compiled and set to music by Paul Mealor, and was performed under the direction of Malone. The Military Wives Choir, which performed Wherever You Are at the Royal Albert Hall, had more than 100 members.
Yet the success of Wherever You Are didn’t stop in the official charts. According to sources at online retailer Amazon, the single has become one of the top 20 bestselling music products of all time on Amazon’s UK website.