Top Choir Kent 2011 Winner Announced
The all-women barbershop choir, Viva Acappella, from Orpington, took the title of Top Choir Kent 2011 after a thrilling, hard-fought, final in front of a packed audience (500 people) at Shirley Hall in Canterbury on Saturday 16th April.
The choir, made up of 26 women singers under their musical director, Gaynor Dugay, was the judges' unanimous choice. The chairman of the judges, Dr David Flood, who is Organist and Master of Choristers at Canterbury Cathedral, praised the energy and enthusiasm of Viva Acappella. He said: “Their performance was underpinned by great discipline, great teamwork and great diction.” He added: “They really reached out to the audience”.
To see a full range of photographs of all the contestants in action, click here.
Viva Acappella were awarded the Brett Top Choir Kent Trophy by Bill Brett, Managing Director of the Brett Group and they will now perform at this year's Canterbury Festival as their prize.
Gaynor Dugay, the Musical Director and conductor of Viva Acappella was bowled over at the result. She said: “It’s been a fantastic evening. The standard of all the choirs has been superb – but to win was beyond our wildest dreams.” She added: “We’re ecstatic.”
The other seven finalists – who each received £100 for taking part - all received high praise from David Flood.
St Edmunds School Chamber Choir in Canterbury was commended for producing such a high standard with such young performers.
UCF Choir Folkestonesang with passion, joy and great discipline.
The Oyster Singers Whitstable from Whitstable demonstrated what community singing was all about by producing real energy and enjoyment.
Just Voices from Bromley gave a very classy performance which demonstrated very good close harmony.
Front Room from Longfield, were very disciplined and received praise for performing without a conductor.
The Baroque Singers from Tunbridge Wells were all perfectly in tune and provided a lovely balanced sound with superb contrast and texture.
And finally, David Flood described St Stephens Church Choir in Canterbury as being the choir any church in the country would love to have with their big bold sound, vigour and determination.
The added bonus of the evening was a performance by last year’s Top Choir Kent winners, Green Street Blues from Sevenoaks who sang whilst the judges considered their verdict.
The Top Choir Kent competition is organised and promoted by the Rotary Club of Canterbury and the event is expected raise around six-and-a-half-thousand-pounds for Rotary charities. The President of the Rotary Club of Canterbury, Robert Yonge, paid tribute to the support provided by the competition’s mains sponsor, Belmont International of Sevenoaks. He said: “Belmont’s generous sponsorship means nearly all the set-up and admin costs of Top Choir Kent were covered before the event so just about all the money raised will go to charity.”
Bill Brett presents the Brett Top Choir Kent Cup to Musical Director Gaynor Dugay
A proud Gaynor Dugay with the trophy
The judges' task was made all the more difficult because of the exceptionally high standard set by all the eight finalist choirs. Dr Flood said he and the other judges had the most unenviable job on the night and that all of them could have been given an award of some description.
We raised over £6,500 for charities that the Rotary Club of Canterbury support. In addition a retiring collection has resulted in a donation of over £1,000 for the Pilgrims' Hospice.
is the competition's media partner and recorded the concert for transmission of Easter Day. It will also be available on demand via the BBC iPlayer for a further seven days.
Click link for more details about BBC Radio Kent.
It's not just about singing, though. All money raised from the event will go to Rotary Charities which support good works at home and abroad.