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Universal sign Women's Institute group

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The Women's Institute has signed a £1m recording contract with Universal Music.

In an X Factor style competition the WI will now search for five of its members to form a group called The Harmonies.

BBC News reports that the group's album will be released to mark the institution's 95th anniversary.

Judges, who will announce the lineup in September, began their search in February when the WI's 205,000 members were invited to send in demos.

A shortlist of 30 finalists was compiled from 600 recordings of 'Jerusalem', a song traditionally sung at the beginning of each of the group's meetings.

Universal Records confirmed that a version of the track would be included on the album of "classics" which is scheduled for release in October.

The Yorkshire branch of WI posed naked for a fundraising calender in 1999, inspiring the film Calender Girls.

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