Belfast Telegraph

Belfast choir strikes right note in bid for Songs of Praise glory

By Cate McCurry

A school choir is singing for success in the finals of a televised UK-wide competition.

The 28-member chamber choir at Strathearn School in east Belfast has reached the latter stages of the BBC Songs of Praise competition.

The talented pupils have been juggling rehearsals with school studies as they prepare for GCSE and A-Level exams.

Viewers can tune in to BBC One tomorrow to watch the students perform 'Hallelujah, Get Happy'.

Music teacher Heather McIvor said: "It's a popular song and everybody likes the melody and the girls enjoyed singing it.

"We thought it's one that is quite energetic, good for the competition and has plenty of audience appeal."

The chamber choir has been meeting since September and usually rehearses during lunch break three times a week.

Mrs McIvor said: "We started preparing in October for the two specific pieces for the competition and we did a recording which we had to send off to Songs of Praise in November.

"Then we heard in January that we reached the semi-finals with four other choirs and we kept rehearsing our pieces and then headed over in April.

"All of the choir members are doing exams so they have a lot of commitments at school.

"They are all trying to balance a lot of things."

The show - held in Bangor in Wales - will be hosted by presenter Aled Jones. Judges include former boyband member JB Gill from JLS and singing coach Carrie Grant.

Mrs McIvor, who has been a music teacher at the school for almost six years, added: "This is something big they can be part of, and they can enjoy the experience of meeting with other choirs.

"The Choir of the Year competition was an incentive for the choir to focus on pieces and sound the best they can.

"Getting through to the final is a bonus and if we were to win it would be bonus.

"The students are getting the chance to compete at a high level and experience all the things that come with that."

Songs of Praise is at 2.40pm tomorrow on BBC1

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