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Chamber Choir named in top three in the UK

The Haileybury Chamber Choir, drawn from the ranks of the school’s Chapel Choir, has been selected as one of three secondary school finalists in "Celebrate!", the Songs of Praise annual school choirs contest.

The pupils from Haileybury will compete for the title of ‘BBC Songs of Praise Senior School Choir of the Year’ against St Aidan’s Church of England High School, Harrogate and Methodist College, Belfast. Former choirboy and current Songs of Praise presenter, Aled Jones, will host the competition from the Symphony Hall, Birmingham on Saturday, 28 February 2004.

The final will be judged by Pete Waterman, of Pop Idol fame, Carrie Grant, a leading vocal coach who adjudicated on the BBC’s Fame Academy, and Malcolm Archer, organist at Wells Cathedral.

After the choirs give their final competition performances in front of the judges and away from the cameras, the BBC will film a Songs of Praise programme featuring all six finalist choirs (three are from primary schools) in front of a large audience. Each choir will sing a single piece individually as well as a piece together. At the end of the filming process, the results of the competition will be announced "live" in front of the cameras. The edited programme will then be broadcast on Sunday 14 March 2004.

There were more than 120 entrants in the first audio recording round, after which Haileybury’s singers were selected as one of seven choirs filmed by the BBC in late November. Selection for the final has been achieved on the basis of this video recording, according to the Director of Music at the independent school, Peter Davis.

Haileybury pupils in the choir are: Sophie Auster, Sophie Baird, Susanna Battersby, Roselyn Brennan, Persephone Bridgman Baker, Frances Burn, Cecil Chow, Annabel Dale, Samuel Edwards, Joshua Edwards, Lindsey el-Beih, Michelle Gardener, Peter Gillespie, Eleanor Haslam, Thomas Haslam, Ruth Hewitt, Simon Lascelles, Oliver Lepage-Dean, Rahul Odedra, Lucy Potter, Ben Rowe, Catherine Sapsed, Elizabeth Stock, Nicholas Tate, Amy Thomas, Emma Walsh, Sara Walsh and Toby Wheatley.

Free tickets for the recording of the concert at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on Saturday 28 February 2004 are available from Vicky Rhodes or Claire Callaghan on vicky.rhodes@bbc.co.uk or claire.callaghan@bbc.co.uk or telephone 0161 244 3269 or 0161 244 3646. More information on the competition can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006ttc5