The National Choir of the Year regional heats on Sunday were cause for a double celebration in Huddersfield.
For, against the odds, two choirs based at Lindley Junior School have made it though to the national category finals following their performances at Leeds Town Hall.
Several members of the audience had tears in their eyes as the angelic voices of the youngsters from Lindley Junior School Choir held the auditorium with their beautiful rendition of Bob Chilcott’s I Lift My Eyes. They also sang Niska Banja and Songird with great aplomb, and it was no surprise that they were named as one of the Choirs of the Day, making it through to the next round.
But, right at the end of proceedings, when the 100-strong Lindley Community Choir was named as the final choir to go through, choirmaster Alison North punched the air with joy at the unexpected turn of events.
Beforehand, she had been cautious about the choir’s chances, as they were pitted against highly experienced choirs from as far afield as Teeside and Nottinghamshire.
Lindley Community Choir, with age ranges from five to 80, only began practising the three pieces 11 weeks ago and to have got through to the next stage is a remarkable achievement in such a short space of time. The adjudicators singled out Alison for special mention in their summing up.
Afterward she said: “It is an amazing achievement for both choirs to go through. When the Community Choir was announced, I was elated.
“It was great that the sound we created was good enough for the judges to nominate us as a Choir of the Day. We are absolutely chuffed to bits that both choirs have got through.”
Lindley Juniors headteacher Pat Thompson has been completely behind both choirs throughout, and has attended every Community Choir practice.
She said: “Lindley Junior School Choir have worked extremely hard and they love singing. Their performance on Sunday was very special.
“I’m also delighted with the success of Lindley Community Choir, and it has been heartwarming to be part of their rehearsals, which have been filled with humour, hard work and harmony.
“They gave a brilliant performance and to be named as a Choir of the Day was somewhat unexpected, but I have great faith in this choir.
“Alison North is an inspiration. She is able to bring children and adults together and nurture their talents to create some very special performances which touch the heart.”
For the next national selection stage, a panel of adjudicators will listen to recordings of all of the chosen choirs and select four from each category for the Grand Final at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in October. They will also select two wild cards.
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