For the second year running a choir from a Canterbury school has won the Top Choir Kent title after a thrilling, hard-fought, final in front of a packed audience (750 people) at Shirley Hall in Canterbury on Saturday (23rd March).
The Chamber Choir of St Edmund’s School, with their musical director, Will Bersey, was the judges' choice.
The chairman of the judges, Dr David Flood, the Organist and Master of Choristers at Canterbury Cathedral, praised their musical ability and the way they communicated with the audience. “This young choir performed some quite demanding choral pieces.”
He said: “We had the musical scores and there were lots of notes in there. These were very challenging pieces indeed.”
In particular the judges singled out the choir’s rendition of George and Ira Gershwin’s, “I got Rhythm”, for praise.
Robert Boyd-Howell, President of the Rotary Club of Canterbury, presents the Brett Top Choir Kent Trophy to Will Bersey, MD of the St Edmund's School Chamber Choir
The winners received the Brett Top Choir Kent Trophy and the choir will be given the opportunity to contribute to this year's Canterbury Festival as their prize.
Will Bersey, the choir’s Musical Director and conductor, was absolutely delighted at the result and said that all the hard work had paid off.
He said: “I have to bargain with other members of staff to get time to rehearse with the pupils, but they do work hard when I have them with me and I am very proud of them.”
All eight finalists received praise from Top Choir Kent’s Patron, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey. He said: “There are eight winners here tonight”.
The other seven other finalist choirs – each of which received £100 for taking part - were all praised by David Flood. He said of:
- Canterbury Girls Chamber Choir; “Lovely accurate polished performance … beautifully sung.”
- Just Voices from Bromley; “You have some amazing voices … fantastic; you communicated with the audience very well.”
- Bromley Boy Singers; “You captured the audience with your opening phrase ... I admire the way they have done such a demanding repertoire.”
- The Kentones from Orpington; “You gave us a very polished performance … you knew every detail of your music”.
Maridadi Singers and Drummers from Canterbury; “This is a fantastic example of a community choir with grows and grows and has so much fun … it’s wonderful.”
- Hazlitt Choir from Maidstone; “In achieving what you have this evening, having only been going for two years, is amazing … you were well drilled and chose really good pieces for your forces.”
- The Kent Show Choir, from Ramsgate; “Very passionate singing … we think you are getting toward the expert stage … we think you have a great future.”
- The added bonus of Saturday’s final – which was compered by BBC TV presenter, Rob Smith, was a performance by Top Choir Kent 2012 winners, Sedecim from Kent College, Canterbury.
Top Choir Kent is organised and promoted by the Rotary Club of Canterbury and the event is expected raise in excess of six-thousand-pounds for Rotary charities.
Club President, Robert Boyd-Howell, paid tribute to the support provided by the competition’s main sponsor, Belmont International Insurance Services, of Sevenoaks.
He said: “Belmont’s generous sponsorship means nearly all the set-up and admin costs are covered ahead of the event. This enabled us to stage a top-flight musical event whilst at the same time raising a large sum of money for charitable causes”.