The Haileybury Chapel Chamber Choir, made up of 35 pupils, has reached the national selection round of the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year 2005 competition, the biggest choral competition in the country, having been selected as Youth Choir of the Day at their regional audition.
The core of the choir is made up of pupils who recently appeared on the television programme, Songs of Praise, when they were runners-up in the competition to find the School Choir of the Year 2004.
The Haileybury singers attended one of 11 regional audition days last Sunday in Basildon and came out tops as one of the youth choirs of the day. So far 14 other regional winners have been named, and there are likely to be no more than 20 youth choirs left in the competition when the last two regional auditions have taken place.
Director of Music at Haileybury, Peter Davis, says the choir is now through to the next round, which will be judged from recordings the BBC made on Sunday.
"We will know in June if we are one of the six semi-finalists. The final round will take place in February next year at the Lowry in Salford, Greater Manchester," he explains.
For Sunday’s performance, the choir sang Were You There? arranged by Bob Chilcott, Schubert’s Lebenslust, The Blue Bird by Stanford and Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit, a gospel song which got them into the final three of the BBC Songs of Praise competition.
"The song was arranged by Ken Burton who happened to be at the competition and he was very complimentary about the pupils’ performance," says Mr Davis.
This is the first year a choir from Haileybury has entered this particular competition.