Queen Mary’s School Student Wins the BBC’s Young Chorister of the Year

Emilia Jaques from Queen Mary’s School, between Ripon and Thirsk, has been announced as one of the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year 2018, alongside the boy winner, Cassian Pichler-Roca from Dean Close School in Cheltenham.

The prestigious competition included two preliminary rounds and a final in the studios of the BBC’s Philharmonic Orchestra at MediaCityUK.

Emilia, from Ripon, worked with her singing teacher, Anna Bleiker, and Head of Music at Queen Mary’s, Sarah Holloway-Lloyd, carefully to choose her repertoire for the final and she sang ‘Come thou long expected Jesus’ by Stainer and Handel’s ‘Blessed are all they that fear the Lord’.

The final was hosted by Blue Peter’s Radzi Chinyanganya and composer and conductor, Bob Chilcott, was chair of the judges. He was joined for the occasion by organist, composer and musical director, Simon Lole and the founder and director of the Rock Choir, Caroline Redman Lusher.

Since the final was recorded Emilia and Cassian have already taken on their first commission – a CD recording with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. She will now go on to appear on various BBC television and radio programmes in the next 12 months including BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday, BBC Radio 4’s Daily Service and Sunday Worship, along with special events for Christmas and Easter.

Emilia is thrilled by the result: “I can’t believe it! It’s been so exciting to be part of this important competition. In the week leading up to the final I was doing everything to make sure that my voice was in tip-top condition. On the morning I woke up with butterflies in my stomach but very much ready to perform. The BBC Philharmonic Studio has fantastic acoustics and I enjoyed performing my pieces in front of the judges, who were really encouraging to all the choristers who took part, and an audience including my family, and Mrs Cameron and Miss Lloyd from Queen Mary’s. Thank you to BBC Radio 2, it’s been an amazing experience so far and I look forward to many more.”

Emilia, who is Head Chorister and Music Captain, is heavily involved in all aspects of school life. As well as her continuous dedication to choral singing (she was a chorister at Ripon Cathedral for 5 years until age 13), she plays violin at post-Grade 8 and piano at Grade 8 standard, she is working towards her Grade 8 acting exam, is part of Queen Mary’s Society for academic scholars and, as a keen and committed sportswoman, she attended the ‘Girls Go Gold’ national sports conference. This is as well as revising for her GCSEs which she will sit next year.

Bob Chilcott, chair of the judges for the final said “it was moving to hear the lovely voices of the young singers”.

Carole Cameron, Head at Queen Mary’s School is delighted: “I am so proud of Emilia, she has a beautiful voice and performs with confidence and composure. As a school, we have strong traditions in both choral singing and instrumental music and it has been wonderful to see Emilia blossom.”

If you would like to hear Emilia sing this Christmas she will be performing at Ripon Cathedral and in a Candelit Concert on Saturday 1 December at 19:00 at Baldersby St James Church. The repertoire will include a performance of ‘A Ceremony of Carols’ by Benjamin Britten and other seasonal music. Tickets are available by calling 01845 575000.

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