St Patrick’s PS Choir through to BBC finals

GOING ALL THE WAY TO THE FINAL - St Patrick's Primary School Choir from Derry, led by their musical director Ursula Cullen, pictured performing at the semi-finals of the prestigious BBC Songs of Praise 'School Choir of the Year' competition in Manchester. (1604JC1)

GOING ALL THE WAY TO THE FINAL - St Patrick's Primary School Choir from Derry, led by their musical director Ursula Cullen, pictured performing at the semi-finals of the prestigious BBC Songs of Praise 'School Choir of the Year' competition in Manchester. (1604JC1)

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Pennyburn’s St Patrick’s Primary School Choir wowed both judges and audience alike during the semi-final of BBC Songs of Praise’s ‘School Choir of the Year’ competition last weekend - earning themselves a place in the grand final.

The local choir competed against five other schools from across the UK in the prestigious contest, screened on Sunday afternoon.

Featuring 46 children all aged between 9-11 years-old, and their musical director, Ursula Cullen, the choir’s performance was filmed back in February at Manchester’s Lowry Theatre. They sang ‘Lord of the Dance’ in front of musical luminaries and celebrity judges including Russell Watson, David Grant, and Suzi Digby.

Speaking to the ‘Journal’ yesterday, the choir’s musical director, Ursula Cullen, is thrilled at the school’s performance.

“I’m really pleased with how the BBC edited the programme and how the children represented Derry so well - they really rose to the occasion! They did so well to perform at such a high level and to keep their nerve and use that energy in a positive way.”

“We were completely delighted that the choir made it into the top three,” Ms Cullen said.

“The next stage will be broadcast in two weeks time on Sunday, April 29. We’ve already taken part in the final and we know the results, but, of course, we’re sworn to secrecy!”

For the choir’s next performance they will sing Voice of an Angel, written by the Irish composer Fr. Liam Lawton.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing people’s reactions to the next performance,” she added.

Closer to home, St. Patrick’s Primary School Choir will have the great honour of performing for President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, when he visits University of Ulster Magee’s Great Hall while in the city next week.

Don’t miss the Final of the School Choir of the Year competition on BBC1 on Sunday 29 April.