Two national choral successes - in one week!
9 December 2015
This week Oakham’s musicians have received news that their talents have been recognised in two of the biggest national youth choral competitions. Hot on the heels of learning they have reached the semi-finals of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year 2016 competition, the Chamber Choir were then told they have reached the finals of the Barnardo's National Choral Competition!
“To be selected for both these national competitions is a testimony to the outstanding quality of music at Oakham,” says Director of Music, Peter Davis. “It is a huge accolade to be recognised as one of the best six senior school choirs in the country in both of these prestigious competitions.”
The BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year competition will take place in Sheffield City Hall on Sunday 28 February. If the school is successful in the semi-finals, they and two other schools will go forward to the finals, which is also being filmed on the same day. The competition will then be broadcast on BBC One later on in the year. The choir will be performing the two pieces that formed part of their recorded entry – Roderick Williams’ wonderful arrangement of the spiritual “I want Jesus to walk with me”, and an a cappella arrangement of “Amazing Grace”.
The final for the Barnardo's National Choral Competition will take place in the Royal Festival Hall in London on Tuesday 9 February 2016. The choir will perform two pieces to the judges – again, the Roderick Williams’ arrangement of “I want Jesus to walk with me”, and an a cappella arrangement of “When you wish upon a star”. The choir will also perform in an evening concert, in which they will perform one of these pieces again as well as two massed choir items with the other five senior choirs and the 18 junior choirs taking part in the competition.
“It is certainly going to be a momentous few months for our choir,” continues Peter. “Very few students can say they’ve been a part of both of these competitions. As well as the competitions themselves, the BBC is also be visiting the school to film the choir rehearsing and to interview members of the choir. If this wasn’t enough, the Chamber Choir will also be performing in a concert at the renowned Brandenburg Choral Festival in London, in January, returning by invitation as one of very few school choirs at the event.”
This isn’t the first time the quality of Oakham’s Chamber Choir has been recognised nationally – they reached the Semi-Finals of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year competition the last time that they entered in 2012. “The students are delighted that their hard work, as well as their talents, have been acknowledged on the national stage – they are certainly looking forward to the term ahead!”