And the winners are…
Schools from Barnstaple and Plymouth have won a chance to perform in a major fundraising concert in Exeter Cathedral.
The Park Community School and Devonport High School emerged victorious from the Devon Schools Choir Competition, run by La La Choirs at Southernhay URC on October 6.
The schools will now perform in Exeter’s historic cathedral on Friday, December 9th, as part of the CLIC for Christmas concert to raise money for CLIC Sargent.
Sam Abrahams, from La La Choirs, said: “This is the second year of running the Schools Choir Competition and I have been over the moon with the standard of the entries. The choirs that made it through to the final were all fantastic in their own way, and I feel privileged to have been able to get to work with such talented youngsters.
“I am really excited to see what they come up with for our concert in the Cathedral – it is such an amazing venue and they will all have an experience to remember for years to come, whilst raising much needed funding for a very special charity.”
Robert Grace, Head of Music at Devonport High School for Girls, said: “This competition is a fantastic opportunity for students to be recognised for the work they do outside the classroom. I’m absolutely thrilled that my choir will have the opportunity to perform in Exeter Cathedral – after all, that’s what all of their rehearsals are building towards. And CLIC Sargent are such a wonderful charity to support. I’m looking forward to hearing them sing alongside La La Choirs.”
The Park Community School Head of Music, Matthew Street, said: “The students worked hard to get through to the final of the competition and we are all delighted to be performing at Exeter Cathedral for the second year running. It is an honour to be performing in aid of CLIC Sargent and thanks once again to Sam Abrahams for the opportunity.”
One of his students remarked: “It (the final) was a great day. The other choirs were really good and I wasn’t sure if we would get through. I can’t wait to perform in the cathedral.”
The event will also feature a special performance from a group of young musicians, all of whom have been affected by cancer, in a group called the CLIC Sargent Singers.
The four piece group will be led by Lydia Haynes, 21, who was diagnosed with cancer in the thyroid (throat) at the age of 16 and thought she would never be able to sing again.
Now, after three throat surgeries and radioactive iodine therapy, her career has gone from strength to strength, having sung in the BBC Proms, toured with the BBC ins Switzerland and performed with the BBC big band.
Lydia is currently under the singing tuition of Mezzo-Soprano Sally Burgess, and sings with the London Symphony Orchestra Chorus, as well as many independent opera companies based nationwide.
The CLIC Sargent Singers met through the charity’s Music Programme, which provides young people affected by cancer with trips and events where they can practice performing and songwriting, assisted by volunteer professionals.
The activities include concert and festival trips; workshops; 1:1 tuition; studio recording and performance experiences.
George Stephenson, 23, from Plymouth, will be performing alongside Lydia. He was supported by CLIC Sargent when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia after finding a lump on his neck during a cricket tour in Australia.
He said: “CLIC Sargent gave me lots of information on events and services, like financial assistance, therapy, workshops of all different kinds. They would always check how I was doing, and always genuinely cared.
“The music programme had such a great feeling. You get to meet some brilliant people, who understand what you are going through and that isn’t the focus of things, you just get to make music and record and it was great.”
CLIC for Christmas tickets will be available shortly through the La La Choirs website at www.lalachoirs.co.uk. Tickets will be £12 for adults and £6 for under 16s.