Wednesday 29 Oct 2014
Two young choristers from Sheffield and County Durham have sung their way to success to be presented with the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers Of The Year prize in this special Jubilee anniversary year.
Ella Taylor aged 16 from Sheffield, and Liam Jones aged 13 from County Durham, have been named Radio 2's Young Choristers Of The Year. The Grand Final took place on Friday 29 October at St Paul's Cathedral in London, hosted by Aled Jones, presenter of Radio 2's Good Morning Sunday. The show will be broadcast on Sunday 7 November at 8.30-10pm on Radio 2.
Lewis Carnie, Head of Programmes for Radio 2, said: "The standard this year has been phenomenal. All those who took part were excellent but Liam and Ella had an extra special quality which the judges have rewarded with this prestigious prize."
The competition celebrates young talent singing for worship in churches, chapels, cathedrals and beyond. The finalists, four boys and four girls, performed to a huge audience in the awesome surroundings of St Paul's Cathedral and to a panel of expert judges including John Rutter, composer and music director of the Cambridge Singers; singer and songwriter Nell Bryden; Lindsay Gray, Director of the Royal School of Church Music; and singer and actor Sharon D Clarke.
Ella and Liam have each received a trophy and will appear on various programmes on BBC network radio including BBC Radio 2's Good Morning Sunday, Sunday Half Hour and BBC Radio 4's Daily Service and Sunday Worship, as well as special events at Christmas and Easter, concerts, and possible television appearances. They will also enjoy some fantastic performance opportunities, not least the chance to sing solo in St Paul's Cathedral.
Ella said: "I'm speechless, I can't believe it."
Liam said: "Its such a privilege."
In this special year, with the competition celebrating its 25th anniversary, previous winners also feature, telling their stories of how the competition launched their musical careers and enriched their lives. Some have appeared on television, had recording contracts, appeared in West End musicals and sung with prestigious choirs. They will also be on hand to encourage this year's finalists.
Amongst them, Laura Wright joined the All Angels group and has a scholarship at the Royal College of Music. Thomas Jesty sang on the Batman Returns soundtrack and William Dutton sang at the Proms and sang with Jose Carreras and Bryn Terfel. Alice Halstead sang on Karl Jenkins' Christmas Album. Last year's winners, Jacquelyne Hill and Laurence Kilsby, have both featured on Songs Of Praise on BBC One. And many former winners continue to sing professionally and to encourage young singers to develop as soloists and in choirs.
Young Chorister Of The Year was open to choristers between the ages of 11 and 17 who sing regularly with their choir for an act of worship. The eight finalists, who were successful in two preliminary rounds were: Ellen Arkwright (17, at time of final) from Marlborough, who sings at Marlborough College Chapel; Jessica Holgate (15) from York, who sings at St Olave's Church, York; Erin Hughes from (16) Siddington near Cirencester, who sings at Dean Close School Chapel; Ella Taylor (16) from Sheffield, who sings at the Chapel of Lancing College, Sussex; Oliver Valentini (13) from Billericay, who sings at Brentwood Cathedral; Liam Jones (13) from County Durham who, until recently, sung at Durham Cathedral and now sings in the Chapel Choir at Durham School; Tom Willock (12) from Ripon, who sings at Ripon Cathedral; Jacob Thorn (12) from Abingdon, who sings at St Helen's Parish Church, Abingdon.
Radio 2 is the UK's most listened to radio station, with a weekly reach of 13.73m listeners. The network covers a diverse and rich mix of programming from social action campaigns to religious programming, live concerts to the arts. The station broadcasts an unrivalled range of music covering over 20 genres, from soul to organ music, show tunes to rhythm and blues. Committed to music, the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year is one of the network highlights, alongside the Radio 2 Young Brass Soloist Award and the British Folk Awards.
Radio 2 continues to feature religious programming as one of the core components of its schedule. The weekday Pause For Thought slots within Alex Lester (2-5am), the early Breakfast Show (5-6.30am) and The Chris Evans Breakfast Show (6.30-9.30am) is heard by over 10m listeners every week, and Good Morning Sunday with Aled Jones features guest interviews about faith and Sunday Half Hour welcomes listeners with a mix of hymns and reflection.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.