BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2023

Our congratulations go to Belinda Gifford-Guy, Year 8 pupil at Wells Cathedral School who won the 2023 BBC Young Chorister of the Year competition (Junior category).

The final of this enormously prestigious competition – run by Songs of Praise and BBC Radio 2 – was held in Manchester and broadcast on BBC TV on Sunday 3 December. While praising all three finalists for their wonderful singing, judges Ken Burton, Wynne Evans and Laura Wright lauded Belinda for her particular ability to tell a story through her performance.

A former chorister at Wells Cathedral, Belinda is now a specialist singer on Wells Cathedral School’s celebrated vocal programme, which helps many former choristers build on their incredible early musical experiences and prepares them for the next stage of their musical lives as soloists or professional choral singers of the future. She studies with Elizabeth Donovan, and sings in both Choralia – the Cathedral School’s prize-winning girls only choir – and the Chapel Choir, which regularly performs in Wells Cathedral and other concert venues.

Christopher Finch, Head of Vocal Studies, accompanied Belinda to the final and was absolutely delighted by the professionalism, musicianship and the pure joy that she showed through both days of filming.

We are so proud of Belinda. The final was an amazing celebration of choristership and singing, with each of the finalists producing deeply moving and beautifully prepared performances. Belinda has done incredibly well to rise to the top of such a competitive field. We will all look forward to the many opportunities that she will have to perform and broadcast for the BBC over the next year as BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2023.

Christopher Finch, Head of Vocal Studies

Alastair Tighe, Head Master of Wells Cathedral School, added how proud the school is of Belinda’s achievement and how they are looking forward to helping her develop even further in the future.

We are all absolutely delighted that Belinda’s vocal talent has been recognised in such a prestigious national competition. She has already regularly lifted the spirits of both School and Cathedral members through her singing both as a soloist and in various ensembles here, but it is wonderful that she is able to share her talent with an even wider audience through her participation in this competition.

Alastair Tighe, Head Master of Wells Cathedral School

If you missed Belinda’s performance in the final it is available on the BBC iPlayer.

For more information on choristerships at Wells can be found on the Wells Cathedral School website where you can also find information on the School’s specialist music programme.