For the first time in the School’s history, Sedbergh School Chapel Choir have been named as one of the five finalists of the prestigious BBC Young Choir of the Year competition.
The long-standing competition is open to all young choirs across the country, with Sedbergh making it to the final of the senior category for the ages of 13-18. This includes other youth and community choirs, as well as other School groups. The final will take place on Sunday 22nd March, at Warwick Arts Centre. The five finalists will all perform in front of a judging panel and live audience, with two finalists then being selected to compete head-to-head to be crowned the winner.
Head of Choral Music, Mr John Seymour, and Director of Music, Mr Chris Allinson, took the decision to enter this year’s competition following a very successful summer tour, when Sedbergh Chapel Choir visited the United States of America. On their ten-day tour, pupils performed in New York, Washington DC and Boston.
Mr Seymour believes the tour provided the young choir with a great boost of confidence.
“The choir that we took out there were really quite a young choir, very inexperienced. Over the ten days we were in America, they developed a huge amount. It was really that which gave us the springboard for a strong start in September and the confidence to enter the competition.”
As part of the application process, each choir must submit a recording of their chosen piece of music being performed. The decision was taken by Mr Seymour and Mr Allinson to submit a piece of music that was written especially for the USA tour by Mr Seymour, entitled ‘I Will Lift Up Mine Eyes Unto The Hills’.
“It is a song that has a strong Sedbergh connection” explained Mr Seymour.
“The lyrics ‘I will lift up mine eyes to the hills’ describe us being surrounded by the hills here in Sedbergh. It was a reminder of home whilst we were amongst the skyscrapers on the East coast of America.”
Mr Allinson also paid tribute to the excellent facilities at Sedbergh School.
“We recorded our submission in the Thornley Studio, which has been an important part of our recent success” said Mr Allinson.
“That improvement in the facilities, I believe, has supported the choir’s progress.”
It is believed the competition will be broadcast across two episodes of BBC’s Songs of Praise, in early April.