Lothian’s police choir to get lesson from beatbox combo

The Lothian and Borders Police Choir
The Lothian and Borders Police Choir
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AS serving police officers, they’re more familiar with walking beats than dropping them.

But that’s exactly what dozens of boys – and girls – in blue will attempt to do when they attend a beatboxing workshop.

The Magnets will be giving a workshop to the police choir

The Magnets will be giving a workshop to the police choir

The officers, from Lothian and Borders Police Choir, will be given an expert tutorial by The Magnets – an internationally acclaimed “six-man sound machine” – in what could be the first meeting of law enforcement and beatboxing since Michael Winslow’s portrayal of “Motormouth” Jones in the Police Academy films.

The police choir approached the a capella band and asked for the private lesson, after the The Magnets’ Edinburgh Fringe shows inspired a bobbies’ beatbox version of Bon Jovi hit Livin’ on a Prayer.

Michael Welton, one of the members of The Magnets, said: “This is their opportunity to get down with the kids. If they can drop a few beats it might get them a bit of street cred.

“We’re going to be teaching them the basics of beatboxing. I imagine with all of them there it’s going to be a massive sound.

“We’ve done a fair number of workshops around the country, but never with police before. It’s not who we were expecting to work with but it makes a nice change and I’m sure it will be a laugh.”

The police choir, which formed in October 2008, boasts more than 70 members and includes PCs, detectives, forensic experts, biologists, telephonists, administrators and others from outside the force.

They have performed at the Scottish Parliament, on BBC Radio Scotland and previously sold out the Festival Theatre and Usher Hall. Last year, they represented Scotland at several events in New York marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

They are hoping to pick up a few tips from The Magnets, who will perform in Kilmarnock on Monday and at this year’s Fringe, as they prepare for their own police spectacular at the Festival Theatre on September 15.

Andrew Russel, musical director of the police choir, said: “Some of our members heard The Magnets at the Festival and loved the way they arranged and performed their songs.

“We’ve arranged something very similar to something they had done with Livin’ on a Prayer, so we thought why not ask them to do a workshop and have a bit of fun. They were completely up for it.

“There are plenty of choirs who run through the traditional repertoire, but we want to do something a bit different.

“Their beatboxing skills are incredible and it’s something we want to add to our skill set. Beatboxing adds rhythm to songs and can bring certain ones to life.

“We’re delighted that The Magnets agreed to give us a session.”

More than 50 members of the police choir are expected to attend the workshop, which will take place before The Magnets’ show at the Centrestage Music Theatre in Kilmarnock on Monday.

They will then stay to take in the performance of the group, which has performed at the Fringe six times.

Analysis

By Liam Rudden

THE members of Lothian and Borders Police Choir may be no strangers to pushing the boundaries of choral music but beatboxing will prove their biggest challenge yet.

Get it right and they’ll be down with the kids. Get it wrong and, well, YouTube is full of bad beatboxing – and not bad in a good way. Of course, the best way to prove they have mastered the art would be to enter Edinburgh’s Got Talent 2012 – a rendition of The Bill theme perhaps? Maybe a new name, The Blues And Twos. Who knows, we might discover the next Michael Winslow.

Sound off

BEATBOXERS are able to replicate the sounds that normally come from drums or percussion instruments with their voices.

They use their mouth, lips, tongue and voice to produce the different sounds, while using their hands to change the sound and rhythm.

Some artists can also mimic special effects, such as record scratching or bird sounds.

Michael Jackson was known to beatbox on many of his records, and beatboxing has now grown into an international phenomenon.