From left to right: Gospel singer Beverley Knight, country singer LeAnn Rimes, tenor Andrea Bocelli and mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins
Gospel diva Beverley Knight and country music legend LeAnn Rimes join superstar tenor Andrea Bocelli and voice of an angel Katherine Jenkins for a spectacular concert and singalong from the glorious setting of London's Alexandra Palace, where regular television braodcasting began.
In this magnificent musical extravaganza "Celebrating Fifty Years", presenters Aled Jones, Pam Rhodes, Sally Magnusson and Diane Louise Jordan, will join around 6,000 Songs of Praise viewers for a sing-along celebration, which will be a glorious showcase of inspirational and uplifting music.
To celebrate present and future inspirational singing, a specially brought together choir of approximately 200 will lead the hymns and support the solo artists from the stage. This group will feature members of some of the best youth choirs in the UK. This will include previous winners of the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year, along with members of the Royal School of Church Music Millennium Youth Choir and all-boy vocal group Libera, who have taken part in many editions of Songs of Praise throughout the years.
The concert will take place on Sunday 25 September and will be broadcast on BBC One in early October. For information on how to buy tickets and full terms and conditions please go to bbc.co.uk/songsofpraise.
There is also an exciting opportunity for experienced four-part harmony singers to attend, as part of the Songs of Praise massed choir, to help lead favourite hymns and songs from designated seating in the audience in the Great Hall at Alexandra Palace. If you are a good, enthusiastic singer and would like to take part, please request an application form by emailing us at: or by calling 0161 244 3473.
Songs of Praise, BBC One's flagship Christian music programme, will mark its 50th anniversary with three very special programmes that will culminate in a spectacular celebration from London's Alexandra Palace, where regular television broadcasting began.
October 1961: Cy Grant, soloist in Songs Of Praise rehearsing with producer Gethyn Stoodley Thomas and assistant producer Margaret Price. At the organ is Arwell Hughes.
Songs Of Praise was first broadcast on BBC Television on Sunday 1 October, 1961. Fifty years on, the programme - the longest running religious TV programme in the world - continues to showcase the very best in congregational hymn singing and inspirational music, featuring the very best choirs and soloists from across the UK and beyond.
In 1961 the first ever Songs of Praise came from the Tabernacle Welsh Baptist Church in Cardiff. For the first anniversary programme, Fifty Years Ago, Songs of Praise turns the clock back as Pam Rhodes returns to the Chapel to join the congregation as they sing the hymns chosen for that first broadcast. A children's choir will also recreate the ever-popular All Things Bright And Beautiful and guest soloist Elin Manahan Thomas will perform the anthem originally sung by soprano Heather Harper. Former presenter Geoffrey Wheeler talks about his role and Sir Cliff Richard recalls life in the sixties when Songs of Praise was in its infancy.
For the second programme, Aled Jones introduces a special edition that features many of the magic moments from half a century of Songs of Praise. Fifty Amazing Years will be a fascinating look at the most inspiring music, the most surprising places, the most extraordinary people and the most incredible stories of personal faith - a unique snapshot that illustrates why Songs of Praise is a television institution that means so much to so many.
And the third programme, Celebrating Fifty Years, will be a magnificent musical birthday party introduced by Aled Jones, with Pam Rhodes, Sally Magnusson and Diane Louise Jordan. Former presenters and celebrity guests will join around 6,000 Songs of Praise viewers for a sing-along celebration that will reflect the best hymns and worship songs, past, present and future - all in the glorious setting of London's Alexandra Palace.
Danny Cohen, Controller of BBC One said: "Songs Of Praise has reached an incredible milestone, and this is a great moment for the BBC to celebrate its contribution to broadcasting and the affection many viewers feel for the programme."
Aaqil Ahmed, Head of BBC Religion and Ethics, and Commissioning Editor for Television said "Songs Of Praise is a broadcasting institution and is truly unique. For an incredible 50 years the programme has delighted and inspired generations and it continues to do so today. I hope that viewers will enjoy our special programmes to mark and celebrate half a century of broadcast history and join us to wish Songs Of Praise a very well deserved 50th anniversary."
David Taviner, Series Editor, Songs Of Praise said: "It is good to look back and celebrate this significant milestone but we also want to look forward as Songs Of Praise continues to change with the times and reflect the rich variety of musical expressions of worship and faith. I like to think that Songs Of Praise is 50 years young."
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