Monday, 21 May 2012

A&B School WIns BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year

St George's College Choir

BBC Songs of Praise Winning Trophy

St George’s College Chamber Choir is the Senior winner of BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year 2012. The competition, which took place on Sunday 12th February at the Lowry Theatre, Manchester, was screened on BBC1 yesterday. Having performed their own choice of traditional hymn in the semi-final round to the panel of distinguished judges, Russell Watson, David Grant and Suzi Digby, St George’s College Chamber Choir performed their chosen inspirational song in the final, ‘Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel?’ arranged by Paul Hart.

Conducted by Tansy Castledine, Director of Music, and accompanied by Andrew Barton, St George’s College Chamber Choir gave an energetic and vibrant performance of their spiritual. With its divisions into multiple parts, swift tempo and intricate text, the piece provided the choir with an opportunity to demonstrate its technical agility and assurance in this, the choir’s first ever competition entry. The judges commented on the choir’s remarkable execution of the piece, describing it as amazing and “in voice quality terms, peerless.”

The choir was absolutely thrilled with their achievement, particularly with such strong competition, with a previous winner and runner-up being in the semi-finals and finals respectively. The Chamber Choir, comprising 27 students varying in ages from Third Year to Sixth Form has a varied performance programme. As a Catholic school, whose Josephite ethos of family spirit stands at the heart of the community, the choir enjoys preparing for liturgical services and singing as a visiting choir at British and European Cathedrals. Additionally, the choir performs larger scale choral works such as ‘The Messiah’ by Handel and ‘The Creation’ by Haydn, gives concerts and recitals both in the UK and abroad, and raises significant funds for local charities, Lourdes pilgrimages, and Josephite schools in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The students are excited about what the year might hold for them as competition winners, though deep down they clearly hold in higher regard what their singing means for them personally and to those who share in it as worshippers and audience members accordingly. In conversation with one of the younger members of the choir it is clear that they are mature in their thinking on this: “Singing is like sharing a journey with someone, though you don’t need to say anything in reply. You both know where it can take you and how much it can mean; having the chance to express words and emotion through music can be intensely fulfilling and help us on our spiritual journey”.

Since filming, St George’s College Chamber Choir has also won the Senior section of the Barnardo’s National Choir Competition 2012, making them the only choir ever to have won both competitions in the same year of entry.

St George’s Weybridge is a leading independent co-educational Roman Catholic day School in Surrey for 3 – 18 year olds offering a values led education for all.

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