I have often spoken about the talents of the Barnsley Youth Choir but their latest success deserves further recognition.
They have just returned from the European Choir Games in Magdeburg, Germany, where they won both the categories they entered (Jazz and Pop; Gospel and Spiritual).
As a result they were asked to sing in the ‘Grand Prix of Nations Category’ – a separate contest to find the champion of champions – and won that as well!
This is an exceptional achievement, as they were up against choirs who have a lot more access to funding and rehearsal time.
It is our local community’s support that has helped get them to the international arena. We should be rightly proud of everyone who has been a part of this process – not least the members of the choir who weren’t chosen to go but still put their sterling efforts into fundraising for the trip.
As ever, tribute must be paid to the choir’s musical director, Mat Wright, whose vision, personal teaching skills and determination has helped take the choir to a new level.
Then there is the ever ready behind-the-scenes team of “Red Shirts” who have enthusiastically supervised rehearsals that lead to public performances at Horizon College and Emmanuel Church.
Add to this the parents, whose trust, loyalty and patience ensured children could attend countless rehearsals and fundraising performances.
Thanks must also go to the team of gifted musicians, who freely shared their time and talents in a rigorous routine of rehearsals, helped transform the choir into the world class singers they are now recognised to be.
I know personally just how much effort goes into the choir from their Chair, Ann Wroe, who has coordinated everything from fundraising efforts to the trip itself – not an easy logistical challenge!
Then there are the young people themselves, whose talent, commitment and energy have made them worthy ambassadors for our town and now of our country on an international stage. We should all be very proud to have them singing the praises of our town.
The choir have now been asked to perform in Thailand, China, America and Finland and hope to compete in the World Choir Games in Russia next year. The future looks exceedingly bright for them and we should be proud to have such inspirational ambassadors for our town.
The Barnsley Youth Choir proves that when people are willing dedicate their time and effort, we can achieve some truly extraordinary things.
This article was first published in the Barnsley Chronicle on 24th July 2015.