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Glasgow Uni a capella stars vye for top slot on The Naked Choir

Glasgow Uni a capella stars vye for top slot on The Naked Choir

They have entertained crowds at Murrayfield, picked up countless awards for musical ingenuity and supported Scrubs actor Sam Lloyd on a debut European tour.

But Glasgow University's a capella outfit hit a new high note when they entered the finals of BBC 2's intrepid talent show The Naked Choir.

Featuring ten spectacularly talented vocalists, the cheekily-named Choral Stimulation will sing their hearts out tonight for the top slot at 9pm.

Also competing in the finals are East London's Stratford Singers and favourites Sons of Pitches, an all male group.

It has taken weeks of battling it out with competitors from across the UK, on the show hosted by celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone OBE.

But Choral Stimulation's success on the programme was almost inevitable, with Malone blown away by a dazzling rendition of Nothing Compares 2 U in episode three.

It's perhaps surprising then to find out the group's musical director Tony McHugh claims he was "bullied" into signing up for the show.

Fearful of being roped into an X Factor-equivalent talent show, 24-year-old McHugh admits he was pleasantly surprised when he realised the focus of the show was on the music.

"The group sat me down asking if we could please do this," explains Tony. "I had the usual concerns.

"I didn't want to be associated with another vapid talent show that wasn't about the music at all - but The Naked Choir wasn't like that.

"The general goal of a capella is to compete, and we have lots of experience there.

"We've won awards for our arrangements in the past - and I definitely arrange differently from the guys in the competition."

via STV via STV

Founded by Celia Rooney, Choral Stimulation have picked up accolades including Voice Festival's 'Best Solo', 'Best Performance' and 'Best Arrangement'.

But one of the greatest challenges for a capella groups singing cover songs is originality - a facet that Choral Stimulation picked up an award for earlier this year.

The group won a Swingles' Award for Originality at a competition in Birmingham, breaking records as the only choir to perform an original song at Voice Festival.

It's a long way to have come considering they started out covering the Pokemon theme tune in 2008.

Pitch Perfect effect: Scotland's a cappella groups on the rise

Read More

Tony said: "The exposure we've had for our arrangements has been fantastic and it's something I could pursue if I wanted.

"I like writing songs, whether it's solo work or with a band, and I think that's why my arrangements work - I take a lot of artistic liberty and it's fun to reinvent something.

"After the show I want to try to keep our success going, riding the wave of the competition and making more music videos.

"If something happens, great. If not we'll make sure Choral Stimulation goes back to being a university group."

VoiceFestival

Keeping thoroughly tight-lipped about the outcome of The Naked Choir, Choral Stimulation are due to perform at Glasgow University Union at a screening of the final.

Original group member Calum Fraser said: "Choral Stimulation has provided me with some of the best uni memories I've had and I will always be proud to have sung as part of this team.

"Gareth was a great person to work with. He was encouraging, brutally honest and a taskmaster.

"His guidance was firm but he always allowed us our space to do our own thing. We also got him hammered on whisky – an unforgettable experience."

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