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Ellesmere College Chamber Choir is celebrating after reaching the 2018 finals of the Barnardo’s Youth Choral Competition. The finals take place on Monday, 12 March 2018 at the Royal Festival Hall, London.

Tony Coupe, Director of Music, said “We initially had to record two pieces, which we recorded here in the Ellesmere College Chapel. We chose ‘Poor Wayfaring Stranger’ (Robinson) and Mozart’s ‘Ave Verum Corpus’.  A judging panel then had the very difficult process of trying to select the seven finalists from the thousands of entries that they received”.

Dr Douglas Coombes MBE, Chairman of the Barnardo’s Youth Choral Competition, commented “The extremely high standard of the Senior Choirs of the past few years has been maintained with a number of new entries. Some very good choirs who have been in the finals before have not made it this time. As usual the final decision has not been easy”.

Talking specifically about the Ellesmere entry, Dr Coombes said, “This was quite an impressive performance. The ensemble, balance and blend throughout were very good with first class bass support from the young singers. In conclusion, two impressive performances, the College sang to their undoubted strengths, this is a very good choir”.

Ellesmere is already renowned for its academic and sporting achievements, and the recognition of being the only Independent school in the UK to have Platinum Artsmark Status from the Arts Council of Great Britain for its Arts, Theatre and Music provision, demonstrates the high regard the College programme is held by all who deal with them. With the new Ellesmere Sinfonia orchestra and the established choral society there is a clear momentum for first class musical development at the college.

Success at a national level does not stop there. Within a few days of the new term starting, the College also received notification that it has been selected as one of only five choirs to reach the semi-finals of the BBC Young Choir of the Year Competition which is organised by the Songs of Praise team. The semi-finals and finals will take place at the Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor on 3 and 4 March 2018, an event which will be televised; so Ellesmere will not only be representing the College, but the community and county of Shropshire as a whole.

Tony Coupe said “Since starting at the College five years ago, my aim has been to develop outstanding musicians and ensembles, capable of performing at the highest standard. The extent to which music can impact in a meaningful way on our lives is limitless. I am committed to creating unforgettable experiences and delighted to have the opportunity to perform in these national competitions”.

Pictured: Director of Music, Tony Coupe, with the Choir