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Home: Choirs and Choral Music: General discussion:
Choir of the Year
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Andrew Potter
New User

Sep 6, 2003, 6:25 PM

Post #1 of 5 (46219 views)
Choir of the Year Can't Post

At the recent wonderful ABCD Convention in Birmingham, a lot of choral directors expressed concern about the future of the Choir of the Year. BBC 2 TV has dropped it, so Sainsburys have understandably pulled out. Radio 3 have stepped into the breach, but people seem to feel that this event will nevertheless lose its attractiveness and broad appeal.

What does anyone else think?


Sep 6, 2003, 8:31 PM

Post #2 of 5 (46212 views)
Re: Choir of the Year [In reply to] Can't Post

I will be very sad to see Choir of the Year dissapear. It's about the only thing worth watching on the television at christmas. I however think that the event may have come to a natural end. I think that the judges in the past few competition have been focussed singly on the quality of the singing. Although this is important it is not everything. There have been a brilliant welsh children's choir on over the past few years who deserve to win just with their enthusiasm. At least they look like they are enjoying themselves whereas some of the more professional youth choirs are all rather 'clockwork' both in the way the stand and sing. Some performances just lack a bit of energy


Feb 20, 2004, 8:02 AM

Post #3 of 5 (45910 views)
Re: [Andrew Potter] Choir of the Year [In reply to] Can't Post

The Choir of the Year competition is continuing (without the support of Sainsburys).

Auditions take place around the UK in March - May 2004. The semi-finals and finals are in the Lowry Centre, Salford, Manchester on 5-6 February and 20 February 2005.

Further details and an entry form are on the BBC web site.

What experiences do people have of the competition? Are competitions good for choral music and singers? It would be great to hear from anyone who has taken part.



New User

Mar 14, 2004, 5:45 PM

Post #4 of 5 (45855 views)
Re: [Tim] Choir of the Year [In reply to] Can't Post

I have taken part three times in the former Sainsbury's competition and have my 1992 finalists' sweatshirt (and some rather clunky china mugs) to prove it. Competitive singing is challenging, scary and enormous fun. Our choir learned all its pieces by heart (which is an absolute must) and until you have performed challenging and hard music in that way, I believe you can't fully call yourself a choral singer. All the things that choirs are always being nagged about - looking up not down, thinking about the audience, watching the conductor, presenting a convincing ensemble, all happen naturally when you put the music down. Each member of the choir learns absolute confidence as an individual and receives absolute trust from the others. Once you have locked the music into your group mind, you really start to 'perform' it for the first time. All choirs should try this - and entering a competition is the best stimulus to getting professional and effective as a group. At its best, it's like flying! If you get some way through the process (as we did once to the end - though not winners) it's also very exciting. You really do want to shout and hug people when your name is read out from the envelope on stage! Interestingly, children's choirs seem to do this all the time - I wonder when we lose the knack! David Clover

New User

Nov 10, 2004, 11:33 AM

Post #5 of 5 (45336 views)
Re: [Tim] Choir of the Year [In reply to] Can't Post

After a number of (fairly successful) entries in Sainsbury's, we competed in the Peterborough heat of the BBC3 "Choir of the Year" contest in May 2004. It was a dreadful experience.

The stage was swathed in great heavy drapes (presumably to "aid" the recording process by removing all vestige of room ambience?) so it felt like singing with your head in a duvet. There was an awful American-style compère who bounced about and kept inviting us to "put our hands together" and "give it up for" so we felt we were taking part in something on C-Beebies. There was no feedback from the adjudicators on the day, and to get the adjudicators' sheets one had to complete and return a long questionnaire that had little or nothing to do with what choirs actually do - frankly, there were bits of it I didn't understand even after a lifetime of exposure to "education-speak", so I binned it. I also thought the judging was biased - though that might have been because we didn't win!!

I doubt very much whether we will enter again in future, and my advice to other choirs is to enter the excellent Peterborough National Choir Competition instead. It's in November every two years - well-run, friendly and attracting a very high standard of entry. MUCH more fun!


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