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Primary school set for national showdown

Macosquin Primary School singers will be flying the flag for Northern Ireland at next month's National Choir of the Year competition.

The Co Londonderry school's senior choir is one of four vying for a place in the grand final of the children's category of the event, broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

A total of 16 of the best singing groups in the UK will battle it out on October 16 at Birmingham's Symphony Hall, having won through from the 160 who took part in the audition rounds.

The stakes are high as they bid to out-perform each other and become one of the six to secure a place at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, on December 3.

Choral talent appears to be on the rise with newcomers to the competition making up half the category finalists, including the children from Macosquin, who are conducted by Cathy Reid and accompanied by Amanda Doak.

Cathy said: "We are delighted to be representing our town of Coleraine and most importantly to be giving our children the opportunity to shine in the UK.

"This is by far the biggest competition we have entered to date. The dedication from each child is remarkable and clearly shows their passion and drive to be of their best for the competition."

Principal Mrs McElwee is proud of the children who are currently rehearsing five hours a week, including on Saturdays. She said: "The dedication from each child is remarkable and clearly shows their passion and drive to be at their best for the competition."

There are 35 children travelling to Birmingham along with seven past pupils, now in Year 8.

The category finals will be presented by popular choral conductor and composer Greg Beardsell.

A winner will be chosen in each of the four categories plus two 'wild cards' to go forward to the grand final.

Belfast Telegraph