Winning Carols to be performed in King’s College Chapel on 4 December, to be published by Edition Peters and broadcast on Classic FM
The winners of a national carol competition have been announced. ‘A Carol for Christmas’, which takes place on 4th December, will see the winning carols performed by The King’s Singers and various youth choirs from across the UK, in the spectacular setting of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge.
The competition entries were divided into four categories – Community Choir, SATB Under 18, SATB Over 18 and a composition specifically for The King’s Singers. Each winning composition will be published by Edition Peters and broadcast on Classic FM.
Originally established and sponsored by Woodfines Solicitors, the event’s judging panel consists of Stephen Cleobury CBE (Director of Music at King’s College and Chairman of Judges), John Rutter CBE (composer, conductor and record producer), Christopher Gabbitas (member of The King’s Singers) and Richard Causton (composer).
Commenting on the event, Woodfines Partner Chris Wingfield says: “This is the second time we have sponsored the competition, the last time being in 2012. It was a huge success and so Woodfines had no hesitation in supporting the event when the opportunity arose again this year. We are now looking forward to hearing the winning entries being sung in King’s College Chapel.”
The Category 1 (Community Choir) winner is Jo Nicholls, a Bristol University music graduate, composer and music teacher. Having previously won awards for her compositions, most notably an award for an arrangement at the Voice Festival UK, Jo won this category with a piece for Community Choir. She said: “I am very excited about winning the community choir category. My carol was written to be easily accessible to local choirs so that everyone can participate in the joy of music.”
The winner for Category 2 (SATB Under 18s) is Toby Hession, a Clare College music student originally from Peterborough. Toby has had works performed at venues including Peterborough Cathedral and the Royal Northern College of Music; in 2013, he was commissioned to compose a piece for the Commonwealth Observance Day in Westminster Abbey, which he conducted in front of an assembly of world leaders. He said: “To be able to say that my voice was heard among so many entries in a competition that is so hugely diverse is both completely amazing and humbling.”
Benedict Heneghan, an Aberystwyth graduate and long-standing television and film composer, won the Over 18’s SATB category. While Ben has written several works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo voice and choir – he has also been involved in high-profile TV projects. Alongside fellow composer Ian Lawson, Ben was responsible for the signature tune and incidental music to the children’s animation series ‘Fireman Sam’. He said: “To be a winner in a competition of this calibre, judged by these people, and with the prospect of having your music performed in this place is not something I’ll forget in a hurry.”
The winner of the final category, for The King’s Singers, is Clive Smith from Essex. Through his inclusive approach he promotes music for all, directing music festivals and composing and arranging works for choirs, orchestras and instrumental groups. At present he is the Musical Director of ‘The Swift Singers’, and the Chelmsford choir, ‘Grammaticus’. His interest in the cello has also led to twice yearly workshops for over 60 young students and professional cellists performing as WHATALOTOFCELLOS. He said: “To hear my work performed by the King’s Singers at King’s is the best Christmas present I could possibly hope for.”
Stephen Cleobury commended everyone who took part in the competition: “For our second competition here at King’s we found no diminution in the quality or quantity of entries submitted, and there were a number of excellent compositions. We can confidently look forward to enjoying the works of the winners.”
Choirs performing at the event include King’s Junior Voices, Inner Voices, Quay Voices and the National Youth Chamber Choir of Great Britain.
The King’s Singers will give a concert in the Chapel on the evening of 4th December followed by a charity fundraising dinner hosted by King’s School to raise money for Future Talent, Concerts at King’s and The King’s Singers Foundation. For further information, please visit the King’s College website.