Maria Fidelis School FCJ UK, 'Songs of Praise Choir of the Year' — April 2010
Maria Fidelis Convent School, London, UK, has won the title Songs of Praise Choir of the Year 2010.
Songs of Praise is a BBC television programme, broadcast every Sunday and features choirs from around the country singing hymns of praise and worship.
The competition for the title saw Maria Fidelis competing with a previous winner, St Aidan's CE High School, from Harrogate, Yorkshire and Rugby School, a well known independent school and third time finalist, to win this prestigious competition. The competition rules required choirs to sing a traditional hymn from an approved list of 100 hymns and a piece of inspirational music.
The choir, led by Ms Karen Gibson and accompanied on this occasion by Mr Emmanuel Waldron swept the judges away with its superb rendition of the traditional hymn, As the Deer pants for the Water with a most moving solo by year 11 soprano Gloria Amponsah. The inspirational piece, Oh Mary, Oh Martha! a spiritual with a complex and technical arrangement by Ms Gibson, featured adlibs from altos, - Mahalia Fontaine, year 11 and Courtney Lewin-Greaves of year 9. The judges, in awarding the prize to Maria Fidelis praised the choir for its beautiful and soulful singing as well as its technical virtuosity.
|Maria Fidelis Gospel Choir, formed especially for the Songs of Praise competition, included students from year 7 – year 13 who were selected from the Upper and Lower School Gospel Choirs which are run as part of the school extracurricular programme.
In addition to working towards the Songs of Praise final, in January, the choir accepted an invitation from the US Embassy to sing at the US Ambassador’s residence for the commemorations which took place for Martin Luther King Day.
As the winning school the BBC will return later in the year to make a film about the choir to showcase its continued success.
The choir also won £1000.00 for the school's music department and sang at the 'Songs of Praise Gala Concert'.
“Already we have been inundated with emails and calls from around the country and abroad congratulating us on our win. All these messages have a common theme: how the girls singing has touched people so much that they have had had to let us know and how their beautiful singing has reminded people of the potential for young people to achieve when they are given the encouragement and space to grow'” said Lyn Newell, Assistant Headteacher.
“We are so proud of the girls. They have worked hard and have been rewarded for all their hard work and commitment. During the competition they were so honouring and supportive of all of the competitors. They are a credit to themselves and their families as well of the school. Last year’s senior winners sang for Archbishop Desmond Tutu when he visited the UK. Who knows who we will be invited to sing for! We are really looking forward to the opportunities that winning Songs of Praise Senior School Choir of the Year 2010 will bring. Maybe we will even sing for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI when he visits in September.”
Well done, Maria Fidelis Gospel Choir!