Les Sirènes is Crowned Choir of the Year 2012
- Glaswegian chamber choir Les Sirènes scoop the UK’s foremost amateur choral prize, beating off stiff competition from hundreds of Choirs around Britain
- Prize judging panel included West End and Broadway star Ruthie Henshall, Greg Beardsell and Mary King
- National competition to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC FOUR in the run up to Christmas
- Competition website www.choiroftheyear.com
Glaswegian choir, Les Sirènes has today [Sunday 28 October] been crowned Choir of the Year 2012 – winning the UK’s foremost amateur group singing competition title at the Grand Final event held at London’s Royal Festival Hall.
Over 5,000 singers from 138 singing groups entered the competition this year in auditions across the country. Six finalists were whittled down from a number of regional heats to make it to the Grand Final. Today Les Sirènes, who got through the category finals as a wildcard entry, beat the 5 finalist choirs to achieve the highly coveted prize in one of the closest finals in the competition’s history with just five points between the winner and the choir in last place.
The Final, presented by Only Men Aloud’s Tim Rhys Evans and TV presenter Josie D’Arby, saw six finalist choirs battle for the title of Choir of the Year 2012. The choirs were winners of the Children, Youth, Adult and Open categories of the competition category finals, plus two wildcard winners from any category. The performance was judged by British actress Ruthie Henshall, Greg Beardsell, Associate Musical Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Mary King, renowned performer, presenter, creative director and vocal coach.
Established in 2007 Les Sirènes is a Glasgow-based female chamber choir consisting of 22 vocalists, all students or recent graduates of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It is led by 24-year-old Andrew Nunn, also a graduate of the Royal Conservatoire, who is currently studying for a Masters in Conducting.
After receiving the award, Les Sirènes chorister Aileen Saunders said: “The fact we've won is just fantastic. I feel very emotional because we've worked so hard for it and also because we're such close friends. We're buzzing, absolutely buzzing.”
Competition judge Ruthie Henshall said: “Les Sirènes won me over instantly. Their music went straight to my core and I didn’t want to miss moment.
“This year’s entries were incredibly impressive – the fact that there were only five points between the winner and the last choir says it all.
“Choir of the Year is an incredible experience and it was utterly compelling judging this year. Seeing so many young people in this competition is wonderful – you can see that each and every one of them is enjoying it.”
The Choir of the Year final will be broadcast on BBC Four on Tuesday 13 November and on BBC Radio 3’s The Choir on Sunday 11 November at 5pm.
This years finalists included:
- Children's Category winner: Lindley Junior School Choir (Huddersfield)
- Adult Category winner: Surrey Hills Chamber Choir (Guildford)
- Youth Category winner: Methodist College Girls’ Choir (Belfast)
- Open Category winner: Oxford Gargoyles (Oxford)
- Wildcard: Ysgol Glanaethwy Senior Choir (Bangor)
- Wildcard: Les Sirènes (Glasgow)
Choir of the Year is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Choir of The Year - Categories
- Children’s Choirs - Majority of singers age 12 and under
- Youth Choirs - Majority of singers age 18 and under
- Adult Choirs – Same or mixed voices
- Open Choirs - There are no upper or lower age limits in this category. It's ideal for singing groups which include children and adults, specialise in a particular cultural tradition or style of repertoire or simply want to do something a little bit different
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Popularity of Group Singing
Singing is the UK’s most popular participatory group activity after sport. There are over 25,000 choirs, with 500,000 singers across the country reaching an audience of 3m, according to figures supplied by TONSIL (www.tonsil.org.uk). Regular group singing has proven health benefits, from improved breathing capacity and better posture to increased self-confidence and the feel good factor that comes from singing your heart out with a group of friends.
About Choir of the Year (www.choiroftheyear.com)
Choir of the Year is the UK’s national amateur group singing competition and the foremost competition of its kind – winning the competition is the ultimate achievement for any UK choir.
138 choirs of all ages and music styles performed at regional auditions at major venues across the UK from January to March 2012. The sixteen category finalists selected from the auditions competed to win a place in the Grand Final at the Bridgewater Hall on 6 October. Competing choirs receive live feedback from expert judges at every stage of the competition.
Since 1984 more than 130,000 singers of all ages have taken part in Choir of the Year, a biennial festival of singing, performing in a vast array of styles – pop, gospel, barbershop, classical and World music. It is FREE to enter and choirs get to perform to a live audience and have expert judges provide live feedback and written guidance notes following the heat. Choir of the Year is more than a competition and helps choirs to become the best they can, providing the opportunity for singers of all ages and backgrounds to meet and exchange ideas, it raises the aspirations of thousands of singers by promoting teamwork, dedication and a passion for singing.
Choir of the Year is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.