Although many people believe choirs were invented by Gareth Malone in 2005, their actual history can be traced back more than 5,000 years to the Egyptian court of Hor-Aha, where choruses of eunuchs would entertain the pharaoh with falsetto renditions of Night Fever accompanied by sistrum, shofar and ugab.

Most medieval monasteries had their own choirs and the V&A Museum holds a few original recordings of their stophes, faburdens and trisagions on early wattle and daub discs.

Male voice choirs were developed by the Welsh, originally to provide work songs for miners, but then latterly to drown out the noise of bards reciting poems at the national Eisteddfod.

Many pensioners are now actively involved in choirs and at the national Choir of the Year awards in 2013, the Greybeard Gleemen from Goole – whose average age was 93 – came third overall, despite their tenor soloist dying during the second verse of Owed to Joy, which celebrated the fifteenth anniversary of the unpaid fees due to their pianist, Joy Gleemaiden, also of Goole.