Fringe Box



Surrey Hills Chamber Choir – Win ‘Choir of the Year’ Title – Now The Grand Final

Published on: 10 Oct, 2012
Updated on: 12 Oct, 2012

The Surrey Hills Choir with their Winners Certificate (click to enlarge)

by Rachel Musgrove, Choir Member

“And the winner is……………. Surrey Hills!”

The rest of the announcement was muffled by the sound of screaming as choir members leapt to their feet hugging each other in jubilation.

Five months of sheer graft, two rehearsals a week, for three songs to be delivered in eight minutes, in order to beat three other choirs and be named “Adult Choir of the Year 2012”.

We had won the category final. This was the moment we had been working for since February when we won our Basingstoke heat in the national Choir of the Year competition. After the subsequent national selection stage in June, we knew we would be travelling up to the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester to pit ourselves against the very best in our category.

Now, along with the other category winners and two ‘wild-card’ selections by the judges, we will take part in the Grand Final in three weeks’ time at 3pm on Sunday 28th October at the Royal Festival Hall. Tickets are selling fast for this event which will be televised on BBC 4 on the November 14th and broadcast on Radio 3, at a date to be announced. The choir is now busily preparing and a television crew is coming to watch the choir rehearse within the next few days. No pressure then.

Thinking back on our winning programme of three songs, it was the first two gave us the most challenges. The enormously complex ‘Rytmus’, by Ivan Hrusovsky, had to be honed to an incredible speed to fit into the time-frame, but with all the accuracy of diction and rhythmic accents in place.

This was followed by the mellifluous ‘Sounding Sea’ by Eric Barnum, which we have spent many hours reworking from our original interpretation, to suggest something more inviting than our previous stormy rendition to provide more contrast to our other songs.

Our final song, Moses Hogan’s negro spiritual, ‘My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord’, is one we have taken to our hearts and allows us to reach out to our audience in a celebratory manner. little did we know we would have a lot to celebrate!

Cranleigh Christmas Concert

The Surrey Hills Chamber Choir, which is led and organised by Debbie Walton, will be joined by the Surrey Hills Singers, Young Voices and Training Choir for their annual Christmas concert on Saturday 1st December at 7pm at Cranleigh Baptist Church. A sell-out the past two years, it is advisable to book your tickets in advance. Tickets are £10 for adults and £4 for children and are available by contacting Debbie on or telephone 01483 276281.

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