Leeds Primary School choir Triumph in BBC Music comp

By Swapping Liszt for Lennon

This weekend at the hallowed ‘Maida Vale’ studios in London Meanwood Church of England Primary School from Leeds triumphed in the BBC 6 Music Weekend Breakfast Show’s unusual competition to find the best choral version of a rock/pop song.

The 53 strong choir from Meanwood Church of England Primary School stole the final with their tearjerking performance of ‘Saltwater’ by Julian Lennon. Weekend Breakfast Show presenter Natasha Desborough said; ‘ Saltwater did well in my eyes! It was a brilliant performance. The kids were amazing’.

The famous studios in Maida Vale – scene of recordings by The Beatles, Stones and Kaiser Chiefs - was packed to the rafters with excitable school kids who’d been up since 2am in order to travel considerable distances from Halifax, Dorset and Leeds, to make it to the studios for the live breakfast performance and to raise the roof with their choral rock songs.

The idea for the competition was sparked by a choral version of the Kaiser Chiefs hit ‘I predict a riot’ given the full choir treatment by Warrington based choir - The Cheshire Chord Company. The song was given to the ladies choir by the mother of a Kaiser Chief’s roadie. Natasha Desborough – the presenter of BBC6 Music’s ‘Weekend Breakfast Show’ heard the spine tingling version and launched the competition to find the best kids choral version of a classic 6 Music Song.

This is Hardchoral – the UK wide competition has really caught the public’s attention and looks set to change the way choirmasters recruit in the future!

Natasha says; ‘The response to the UK wide competition was brilliant, we had entries from all over the country, and it looked like Kaiser Chiefs fans from Yorkshire voted in their droves, beating off stiff competition to blag two final places for TWO Yorkshire Schools. Cross Lane Primary School, from Elland, nr Halifax and Meanwood Church of England Primary School, competed with The Funky Little choir from Christchurch Dorset. And it was only fitting that the three choirs should get to perform and record their choral ‘rock song’ live at ‘Maida Vale’.

BBC6 Music listeners – known for their credible music tastes deluged the studio with their texts and emails in response to the competition which aired three unusual versions of 'let is Be' (Cross Lane), 'Saltwater' (Meanwood Primary) and 'Sweet Child of Mine (The Funky Little Choir). Natasha Desborough says; ‘the response was wonderful and I’m thoroughly surprised at how wussy the 6 Music listeners really are – our listeners do have a heart!’

The final was judged by Ross Millard from the Indie band ‘The Futureheads’, Shaun Keaveny (seasoned XFM and BBC6 Music DJ) and by Denise Lines, Musical Director of the Cheshire Chord Company – the originators of the ‘hardchoral’ genre. Natasha says; ‘I nearly cried three times, all three choirs deserved to win and I’m glad it wasn’t me who had to make the final decision. In the end the judges unanimously decided that the passion shown by the Meanwood Choir was worthy of the trophy and the prize – something that tons of bands would love to have - two weeks airplay on BBC6 Music.’

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Notes to editors:

1. These links might be of interest – ‘why boys do not join choirs’ : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6434409.stm

£10 million package to boost singing in schools http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6264899.stm - £10

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