17 May 2019
The finalists were made up of nine of the finest Prep School choirs and arrived from midday to warm up before their performances in front of the adjudication panel, led by Bob Chilcott. Each choir had prepared two contrasting choral pieces as well as nominating one soloist. They were also familiar with the combined choirs’ piece which would be the finale in the concert. Throughout the afternoon, the adjudication panel watched each choir’s performances. After a lively choral workshop led by our Director of Music which brought together all the choirs to sing Greg Gilpin’s ‘Why We Sing’, Cadogan Hall started to fill up with guests for the evening concert.
The concert was a diverse programme with each choir choosing to perform one song. We were also privileged to hear performances from our very own Downe House choirs, including Polyphonix who were recently crowned Barnardo’s Senior Choir of the Year 2019. Towards the end of the night, we had the debut showing of a new Downe House Music Video, produced and directed by Downe House Alumna Emilie.
Alexandre from Thomas’s Battersea and Katie from Downe House led the ‘mass choir’ number, Greg Gilpin’s ‘Why We Sing’, with two beautiful solos before all the choirs joined in to sing together. The piece conveyed an impressive message about the power of singing to transform and enrich young lives, earning a standing ovation from a packed Cadogan Hall.
After this, all that was left were the results and prize giving from the afternoon’s competition. The adjudication panel, led by Bob Chilcott, gave thoughtful feedback for each school’s performances, praising their musicality, confidence and energy. Huge congratulations to Downe House’s Prep School Choir of the Year 2019, Thomas’s Battersea (Songbirds) and a special mention to runners up Prince’s Mead School (Concert Choir). Every young singer attending was awarded a certificate and the evening finished with an overwhelming encore of “Why We Sing”.
Director of Music at Downe House, Dr Charlotte Exon, commented on the event, “What a truly inspirational Prep School Choir of the Year Competition and Celebration Concert! At Downe House, we have a huge heart for transforming young lives through the power of music – and this was one transformational event that brought the House Downe, moving the audience to its feet. Bravo to all choirs and their talented choir directors that took part in this very special and unforgettable event!”
The whole event, both the competition and the evening concert, was a huge celebration of Downe House Music’s wholehearted belief that music can unite people and transform young lives. We hope that every Prep School singer in attendance left Cadogan Hall feeling inspired – we certainly were!