A young Jersey choir is off to Latvia this weekend to compete in the world’s biggest choir competition.
The 19-strong group of schoolgirls who make up the Musical Originals Singers have been rehearsing for months ahead of the World Choir Games in Riga where they will be singing in English, Mandarin, Estonian and Jèrriais – all from memory and unaccompanied.
British composer Raymond Yiu was commissioned to write one of the pieces in Jèrriais and has been singing the girls’ praises, rating them as one of the best choirs in the UK.
He said: “There is no children’s choir of the same quality in England, with the same daring contemporary repertoire, and who do it so well.
“This is not easy music to do well, and it’s such a privilege to write for this choir – I know that they will be up for the challenge.”
They will be competing against adult choirs from around the world and qualified for the event by taking gold at other competitions in the UK, Prague and Italy.
The girls have been trained by former professional opera singer, Imogen Nicholls. The Musical Originals Principal said: “In Riga they will be competing in adult competitions but this has not been a barrier to success for them before; there are not many adult choirs who are prepared to tackle the repertoire that these girls sing and they bring freshness and enthusiasm to these works.
“Simply getting into these competitions is an accomplishment, and the experience for the girls is amazing. Besides the main competitions they will be giving friendship concerts, taking part in cultural activities and a parade of nations – and they will of course be carrying the Jersey flag at the opening and closing ceremonies, literally flying the flag for the Island.”
16 year-old Jersey College for Girls student Rachel Hayden said: “Part of the joy of going to these places is not just the singing and the competitions, although they are amazing.
“We have been to Prague, Cincinatti and Rimini and they are places that I might never have visited otherwise, and we have had the opportunity to meet all sorts of people and learn about different cultures.”
The trip has been supported by the St Helier Youth Committee and the Jersey Arts Trust and some of the girls have also been supported by the Jill Marquer Fund.
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