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News > School News > FHS Finalists in the Grand Final of the GSA Choir of the Year Competition

FHS Finalists in the Grand Final of the GSA Choir of the Year Competition

Both flagship choirs at FHS, Lower Chamber Choir and Senior Chamber Choir, were very excited to reach the Grand Final of the inaugural GSA Choir of the Year Competition in Warwick on Sunday 13th March

We were excited to show off the great musical standard that we have at FHS, with just the Senior Chamber Choir reaching the last 6 choirs of a pool of 38 entries.

Although the Senior Chamber Choir had only just performed at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle a few days before, all the girls showed great spirit to depart from school in the early hours on a Sunday morning. Arriving at the imposing concert hall of Warwick School, the girls took the day in their stride and rose to the challenge of singing heartily in front of a packed audience.

Firstly, Lower Chamber Choir (our auditioned Year 7 and 8 ensemble) rose to the stage with huge smiles and unbounded enthusiasm. With gusto, they sung Will Todd’s reflective ballad, Inside My Heart, and the vivacious Elaine Hagenberg setting of William Blake’s ‘Tyger’. Their excellent singing was met with wild applause from the audience, including a very supportive Senior Chamber Choir.

Later in the afternoon, it was the turn of Senior Chamber Choir (our Year 9-13 auditioned ensemble) to showcase their talents. They delighted the audience with a contemplative version of ‘Be Thou My Vision’ before rocking the hall with Sarah Quartel’s energetic a capella arrangement of ‘How Can I Keep From Singing?’. The Year 7 and 8 FHS girls were delighted to inspire

Our audience comprised friends and families from all the visiting schools, as well as a very experienced expert adjudication panel. Chairing the panel was the famed composer, broadcaster and musical director, Simon Lole. In the middle of the day, we were delighted that he took us in a massed group performance of his arrangement of ‘Make Him a Channel of Your Peace’. Not only was it great for all the Francis Holland girls to sing together en masse, we loved joining together hundreds of voices of high-quality Youth Choirs from across the country. Mrs Elphinstone was full of pride of both choirs and we were delighted to have her cheering on fulsomely from the audience.

We had a fantastic day of music-making together in a new environment. All the attending teachers and judges agreed that the standard of music was exceptionally high. It was incredible to see such a variety of singing styles and music from the highest quality youth vocal ensembles from across the UK. While we were delighted to showcase ourselves as being among these groups, it was wonderful for us to be involved in and inspired by two energetic and highly enjoyable concerts of music. The girls not only relished and rose to the challenge of being worthy participants, but they were supportive and motivated by the brilliant singing from all of the fantastic choirs.

The judges showed our choirs in praise, both for their musical quality and for their attitude and enthusiasm on the day. All of our choristers were supportive, positive and keen to work as a brilliant team, which they absolutely did. Our feedback was overwhelmingly positive and noted the confidence and volume that both of our choirs achieved. Praise included the‘ambitious music performed with plenty of energy’, our ‘wonderfully warm tone’ and ‘two stunning performances, which is a great achievement when the standard was so high’. We are delighted to be the only choir to get to the final of both the Senior and Lower Competitions, among fierce competition.

Miss Vickery and Mr Mercer are ever so proud of all the members of both choirs. We commend each and every student for fitting in this preparation for this event around the many other engagements of the girls and approaching the competition with such a positive and mature attitude. Thank you also to Miss Murata for accompanying both of the choirs with precision and detail, as well as joining us along with the mastermind of Mrs Floyd. Thank you also, as ever, to all the parents who joined us in Warwick on the day, as well as Mrs Elphinstone for her endless support. With our eyes now fully set on the upcoming Fanny Davies Music Festival and the grand Spring Concert, we are delighted to be so proud of all our fantastic choristers.

By Mr Mercer, Teacher of Music

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