Convent school choir reaches Songs of Praise final

Choir in Westminster Cathedral with Vicar General Mgr Seamus O Boyle

Choir in Westminster Cathedral with Vicar General Mgr Seamus O Boyle

Maria Fidelis Convent School FCJ, in Euston, London, has reached the final of the BBC Songs of Praise programme and so is in the running for the title of 'School Choir of the Year 2010'.  On its first attempt the school has become one of the three finalists chosen for the senior section having beaten the competition from the national pool of entries.

The Gospel choir has had a very busy and successful autumn term with many prestigious engagements where they have been great ambassadors for the school, the trustees (the Faithful Companions of Jesus) and the diocese.

Students at Maria Fidelis truly represent the Diocese of Westmintser as the school is ethnically diverse and draws most of its pupils from boroughs across the diocese. The choir, managed by Assistant Headteacher Ms Lyn Newell, is made up of girls from year 7 to year 13 and includes representatives from both the Upper and Lower school choirs which run as part of the school's extracurricular programme.

Performance opportunities last term began with the Lower School choir singing at Maria Fidelis’ Open evenings where they set the standard for the events which followed.  In October they they sang at Westminster Cathedral for 'Walk a Mile in their Shoes' in support of the Catholic Children's Society.

On 7th November they were again at Westminster Cathedral this time involved in the National 25th Anniversary Mass of Thanksgiving of the Catholic Association for Racial Justice (CARJ), the only school choir in the combined choir for the mass and headlining and closing the Youth Event with their rousing gospel repertoire.

On 10th November the Upper School choir was once again invited to sing at the Jack Petchey Youth Awards ceremony held at the Camden Centre, another extremely successful event.

December has seen the members of the choir sing at St Pancras Station for the Sounds of Christmas and at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Marylebone, for several seasonal events, including a fundraising event for Springboard, a charity which supports young people from ethnic minorities gain access to training and work in the hotel and catering industries.

The highlight of the term has undoubtedly been winning a place on final for the BBC Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year 2010 competition. The television programme screened weekly on BBC1 features worship and praise throughout the United Kingdom and is screened to countries around the world!  The entry involved two auditions, one audio and the other filmed both of which were judged in order to for the choir to progress to the next level of the competition.  As one of the three finalists in the televised competition they will sing their hymn and inspirational song at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on the 13th and 14th March 2010.  The programmes will be screened soon after.

The day after hearing the news of their success the school corridors at Maria Fidelis, located in Somerstown near Euston Station, resounded to the voices of students singing on the way to lessons.  At break time a chorus from one of their repertoire I’m a Believer could be heard from the year seven roof playground.  This success has brought smiles to the faces of the whole school community and is the perfect Christmas present.

Other opportunities in the Spring term include performing at the Martin Luther King Day celebrations on 17th January and the Music for Youth Festival at the home of the London Symphony Orchestra, in Islington.  The choir has also entered for the Barnardos School Choir competition and the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the year competition which takes place later in the year.

Maria Fidelis Convent School Gospel Choir is going from strength to strength.  This is due to the commitment of the choir members under the very able direction of Ms Karen Gibson and the accompanist Mr Vaughan Larmond. We are extremely proud of the choir's achievements to date and look forward to their continued success. The choir members are a credit to themselves, their families, the school, the trustees, the Diocese and all who value Catholic education.

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