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BBC visits Haileybury ahead of choir competition final

A BBC film crew spent several hours at Haileybury yesterday to film the singers ahead of a live performance at the BBC’s Manchester studios in February, in which the choir will go up against five others in the senior category in a bid to win the Schools Choir of the Year title.

The competition is part of the Songs of Praise series and Heath Mount School, one of our main feeder schools, is one of six in the running for the junior category of the contest.

"This competition has become tougher and tougher as the years have gone by," says Director of Music at Haileybury, Quentin Thomas. "In its 10th year, Songs of Praise’s 50th year and Haileybury’s 150th anniversary, our achievement makes it particularly special, and it is a fantastic achievement. We’re so excited!

"It is also remarkable and quite extraordinary that, with BBC producers trawling the length and breadth of the country, this week they have had two visits within three miles of each other, with Heath Mount again through to the junior semi-final. Indeed, many of our pupils have come from Heath Mount, including some of our Chamber Choir singers, one of whom was in last year’s Heath Mount choir."

Quentin says the BBC visit has done wonders for raising the profile of the event which, in turn, makes the choir work even harder despite their already heavy workload at this time of year. "It’s an unusual occasion, and a challenge that we are ready to take on. The choir has risen to the challenge magnificently," he adds.

Haileybury won the title in 2005 but no school has ever won the Choir of the Year title twice, so here’s hoping we can make history.

Guaranteed a performance on national television in front of an audience of 1,500 in Manchester and many more than that on BBC 1, the semi-finals and finals are on 11 and 12 February 2012. The Haileybury choir will be performing two works – Angel Voices (Quentin Thomas’s arrangement of the hymn) and the traditional spiritual, Steal Away.