Herefordshire’s Cantabile Girls are through to the Finals

Songs of Praise 2015 - Hereford Cantabile girls

Hereford Cathedral School’s Cantabile Girls Choir – semi-finals of BBC Songs of Praise Senior school choirs 2015

Wow! We’ve made it through to the finals for the second year in a row and against a really strong field of six choirs.

This is a fantastic achievement because each year the choir loses the older girls as they leave the school and Jo Williamson has to remake the mix – blending the new and existing girls’ voices to get a balanced sound. With her inspiration they have worked incredibly hard and it showed in the semi-final on Sunday.

Just to add to the pressure Michael Neaum (the Arranger of the Easter Hymn), was in the Nottingham audience listening to their performance. Both he and Jo have longstanding connections with Nottinghamshire. The competition was filmed in Nottingham’s Albert Hall which is where Jo had her professional singing debut!

We have a brilliant and completely original song lined up for the Final. We used the money we won at the International Eisteddfod at Llangollen to commission Michael Neaum to create a commemoration piece based on on the ‘Skylark’ a poem by Digby Haseler. The poet was a pupil at Hereford Cathedral School and wrote this in the trenches in the First World War.

The Cantabile support team on the day did their bit too and so a big thank you to Laurence John who accompanied them on the piano, Melanie Cuthbert and all the family and supporters of course!

The judges JB Gill, Tim Rhys-Evans and Yvie Burnett were very fair and made some great comments about all the choirs:

  • The Chapel Choir of Harrogate Ladies College – They loved the detail and refined nature of this choir and JB Gill felt he was being serenaded!
  • Hereford Cathedral Cantabile Girls’ Choir – “Truly a beautiful performance – built right from the start” … “Wow what a sound !!” … “A real mezzo richness …I must congratulate you this is a fabulous choir ..”
  • Twyford CofE High School Choir – “Bravo to the 4 boys … fullness to sound that was fantastic … really thrilling performance … ” “They really moved me …” “Texture and arrangement … control was excellent … brilliant performance well done …”
  • Tonbridge Grammar School Motet Choir – “beautifully sung .. technically difficult ..long phrases ..” Its going to be very difficult ..”Praise Altos for bottom Gs” ” Lovely blend and really did support each other ..”
  • Godolphin Vocal Ensemble – “Congratulations .. lovely clear sound and poised performers ..” “Very crisp …. dynamics throughout were beautiful …” “Overall very precise and lovely phrasing …”
  • Strathearn School Chamber Choir – “Such a great tune … folky dreamlike quality … “So beautiful .. the harmonies and blend very soothing … a very beautiful sound” ” I believed that you meant it … enjoyed that alot ..”

See the full programme with all the performances and the judges comments.

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