2019 BBC Choristers of Year Announced!

Many congratulations to Will Miles-Kingston, a former York Minster chorister and pupil at York Minster School, who has won BBC Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year 2019.  The 13 year-old is now a Music Scholar at St Peter’s School in York.

The 33rd final of the competition, which celebrates young talent singing for worship, was heard on Radio 2 on 22 December. It was hosted by former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya and judged by composer and conductor Bob Chilcott (Chair of Judges), vocal coach to the stars, Carrie Grant, world famous opera singer, Gerald Finley and classical singing star, Camilla Kerslake.

Well done to all eight contestants, aged 11-17, for reaching the final. They included Charlie Trueman (Wakefield Cathedral), William James (Chapel Royal, Hampton Court Palace) and Lydia South (Lincoln Cathedral). The winning girl chorister, Anna Haestrup, a pupil at St Paul’s Girls’ School, Hammersmith sings at St Mary’s Church, Barnes.  She and Will received a trophy and a recording session with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra. Throughout the coming year, the winners will also have opportunities to take part in a variety of BBC radio and television programmes and to perform at engagements in the wider community.

Praise all round!

Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2, says: “Once again, BBC Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year has seen an extraordinary level of talent among its finalists. Congratulations to all who took part. I’m delighted that Radio 2 can continue to provide young choristers with a platform on the UK’s most listened-to network – and opportunities to perform on the BBC and elsewhere, throughout the year to come.”

Chair of Judges, Bob Chilcott, says: “The performances from all of the young singers were very strong. They all sang brilliantly and were very composed. It was a great occasion and very moving to hear singing at that level from young people.”

Will treated the audience to an exquisite performance of Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter and The Sussex Carol arranged by Sir David Willcocks. The judges commended the confidence in Will’s singing and enjoyed how he engaged his audience through telling the stories of each piece. They added that Will had “a lovely musicality” before making their decision to award him the prize.

Will’s outstanding voice and contribution

Will was a chorister at York Minster from  2014 until July last year. As well as classical music, he is enjoying singing songs from the shows and playing jazz trumpet.  He said of his win, “I am really happy to be the Young Chorister of the Year 2019, especially knowing how talented the other finalists were. Taking part was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to singing in various venues during the year. I am also looking forward to returning to sing at York Minster with the St William’s Singers, which will be very special.”

Robert Sharpe, Director of Music at York Minster commented, “Will’s work as a Minster chorister was exemplary not just for his outstanding voice and huge contribution as a soloist at services, but also as a team-player and keen supporter of his peers.  This result is a very fitting recognition of his talents.”

Last year’s winners, Cassian Pichler-Roca and Emilia Jacques have recorded a CD with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for BBC Music Magazine and have appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Good Friday At The Foot Of The Cross, Friday Night Is Music Night, Good Morning Sunday programmes and other programmes across Radio 3 and Radio 4.

Previous winners have also taken part in a variety of radio and television appearances; some have gone on to appear in West End musicals, sign recording contracts and also sing with prestigious choirs and artists across a variety of musical genres.