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Berkshire County Youth Choirs Perform at 'The Proms'

23 July 2017

Berkshire’s three county youth choirs have recently been recording with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and performed at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday 23rd July as part of the BBC Proms Series 2017.

Dozens of young singers from across Berkshire performed in Proms 11 and 12: “Ten Pieces presents . . .  Sir Henry’s Magnificent Musical Inspirations”.

Together, the county youth choirs represent some of the most talented young singers from across the county. They are trained and directed by local children’s charity Berkshire Maestros which provides high-quality musical education for children across Berkshire, regardless of background, ability or circumstances. The children in the choirs have all had to audition for their place and put in many hours of practice and rehearsal for this and other events throughout the year.

Head of Voice at Berkshire Maestros, Louise McGahon, explains:

We received the call in February from the BBC Education Manager asking if the choirs would like to be involved with the Ten Pieces III. It was a very tight turnaround . . . Crazy really, but we knew it would be worthwhile.

The first stage was to record two pieces, ‘O Fortuna’ the opening movement of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and No Place Like, a new commission from Kerry Andrew, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the legendary Maida Vale Studios in London.

It was such a privilege for these young singers to walk into a room and sing with the BBCSO.” recalls Louise, “They were very excited to hear that both Adele and Ed Sheeran had been in the studio shortly before them.

The youngest pupils are eight years old and the oldest 18. For many of the senior students this was to be their final performance with the Berkshire Youth Choir before moving on to higher education and for some, a career in music.

Alto Enya Dodson, 18, explained how sad she is to be leaving the choir after four song-packed years during which she has sung at the Royal Albert Hall on several occasions – most recently the Verdi Requiem at the Youth Proms – and as part of the BBC Youth Choir, performing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Martin Alsop, which Enya describes as “the best experience of my life.

Louise McGahon praised the hard work and dedication of the young singers saying, “I am truly delighted with what the choirs have achieved. We at Berkshire Maestros are always delighted to be able to offer our youngsters once in a lifetime experiences like this."

We are always looking for new members. Children and young people aged 4 to 18 may register to join one of our Music Centre choirs which are based around the county and, if they enjoy it, those between the ages of 7 and 18 may then audition to progress to one of the prestigious county choirs.


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