School in TV choir event

The St Patrick's Primary School, Pennyburn, school choir, pictured with musical director, Ursula Cullen and composer Fr Liam Lawton, before they left to perform at the Lowry Theatre, Manchester. (1304MM10)

The St Patrick's Primary School, Pennyburn, school choir, pictured with musical director, Ursula Cullen and composer Fr Liam Lawton, before they left to perform at the Lowry Theatre, Manchester. (1304MM10)

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A school choir from Derry will appear on Songs of Praise’s ‘School Choir of the Year’ competition on Sunday afternoon.

The choir from St Patrick’s Primary School, Pennyburn, competed against five other schools from across England, Scotland, and Wales in the semi-finals of the competition which will be screened on Sunday.

The school’s performance was filmed in February but the 46 children in the choir and musical director, Ursula Cullen, have been sworn to secrecy about the result and have been tight-lipped about whether or not they made it through to the final of the competition.

The group, made up of children aged between nine and eleven years-old from the school, travelled to Manchester on February 11th to take to the stage at the Lowry Theatre in Salford, Manchester to sing in the prestigious competition.

The preliminary rounds of the competition were adjudicated by choral experts and Ms Cullen said the choir were “absolutely delighted” to be chosen to sing in the semi-finals.

The St Patrick’s choir were the only choir from the North to be chosen to sing in the junior and senior sections of the competition at the Lowry Theatre.

At the performance in Manchester, the Derry choir performed in front of musical luminaries and celebrity judges Russell Watson, David Grant, and Suzi Digby.

The choir performed two pieces, ‘Lord of the Dance,’ and ‘Voice of an Angel,’ which was written by renowned Irish composer, Fr Liam Lawton.

Fr Lawton, a noted composer of contemporary sacred music, visited the school before they left Derry to take part in the competition and helped put them through their paces in preparation.

The composer’s work has been sung by choirs, both sacred and secular, all over the world and has been translated into many languages.

In 2000 he was commissioned by leading Irish American, Mayor Richard Daley, to compose a piece celebrating the history of the Irish American community in Chicago. The work was narrated by veteran actor, Gregory Peck.

The show will be aired on BBC1 on Sunday at 5.20pm and will be presented by leading singer, Aled Jones.