Senior School Choir Semi-Final Songs of Praise


Senior School Choir Semi-Final

Aled Jones is in Liverpool as the best six senior school choirs in the land sing for the celebrity judges, who decide which will compete in the final.


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Six of the very best senior school choirs in the UK

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have arrived in Liverpool, to sing to win a place in the final

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of one of the most prestigious singing competitions on television.

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Only one of them can become

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the 2013 Songs of Praise senior school choir of the year.

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APPLAUSE

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Last week, the junior choirs wowed us.

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Today, the seniors will, I'm sure, do the same.

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But only three choirs can make it to next week's final. Who will be?

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Please welcome, from Scotland, the High School of Glasgow...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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..from Somerset, Millfield School...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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..from Hertfordshire, Haileybury School...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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..from Belfast, Grosvenor Grammar School...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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..from Llanelli, Ysgol y Strade...

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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..and, from Kent, Tonbridge Grammar School.

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CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

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Now, as we have all six choirs on-stage at the same time,

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how about we hear them together singing a wonderful hymn?

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You can join them and so can everyone else here in the hall.

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It's beautiful, this - Angel-Voices Ever Singing.

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APPLAUSE

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Now, our judges are in their seats and that can only mean one thing -

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the competition is about to begin.

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Our first judge has formed choirs, conducted them,

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sung in them and judged them.

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Please welcome Suzi Digby.

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APPLAUSE

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Our next judge knows a thing or two about singing.

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He's worked with some of the world's top pop acts

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and he's been a chart-topping singer himself. It's David Grant.

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APPLAUSE

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Our third judge studied voice at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama

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before winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.

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She's a concert pianist and found fame with the pop group Hear'Say.

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Please welcome the lovely Myleene Klass.

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APPLAUSE

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Right, let's get the competition going.

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Each of our six choirs will sing their choice of hymn.

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Based on those performances,

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the judges will select three choirs to go through to the final.

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No-one said it was going to be easy.

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The first choir to sing are new to the competition.

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From Belfast, it's Grosvenor Grammar School.

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# Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart... #

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A choir is about team players.

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And if you have the right team and the commitment

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and everybody singing off the same sheet,

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they are the key elements to a very fine choir.

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Ms Foster's always very hard-working

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and it hasn't stopped since we found out we got through.

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She wants to see us succeed, and we want to succeed for her.

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Be Thou My Vision is our piece,

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and we're very proud of that for Northern Ireland

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because it breaks down barriers.

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That hymn is for everyone in the province.

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It isn't a big "wow" hymn. It's not.

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But it's so simple that it's gorgeous.

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We have worked extremely hard and we've been practising so much

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and, you know, it would be absolutely fantastic

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if we were to get through to the final. It be absolutely amazing.

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# Be thou my vision O Lord of my heart

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# Naught be all else to me Save that thou art

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# Thou my best thought in the day and the night

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# Waking or sleeping Thy presence my light

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# Be thou my breastplate My sword for the fight

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# Be thou my armour and be thou my might

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# Thou my soul's shelter and thou my high tower

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# Raise thou me heavenward O power of my power

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# Riches I heed not Nor man's empty praise

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# Thou mine inheritance through all my days

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# Thou and thou only The first in my heart

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# High King of Heaven My treasure thou art

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# High King of Heaven When the battle is done

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# Grant Heaven's joy to me O, bright my sun

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# Christ of my own heart Whatever befall

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# Still be my vision

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# Though ruler of all. #

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APPLAUSE

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Grosvenor Grammar School, ladies and gentlemen.

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So, Suzi, their debut in this competition. How did they get on?

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For a debut, that was remarkable. First of all, the opening.

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It had a sort of simplicity, but a simplicity with confidence.

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And I loved the way that, at the end,

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the long endings of phrases had this sort of lovely bloom.

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A couple of things - after the modulation when it changes key,

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I found that there was a slight harshness in the upper voices.

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So perhaps one could work a little bit

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on getting that beautiful initial bloom back into the voice.

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And, on a very positive note,

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wonderful quality of sound in the basses throughout.

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Thank you. David, it showed off their range as well, didn't it?

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Yes, it really did.

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I love the fact that there are so many boys in there.

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And those boys sound like men.

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The bottom notes in your harmonies were so rich

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that they really made the whole thing sound amazing.

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The only note that I could give is that you try and keep

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the placement at the top end consistent throughout.

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But, you know what, I have to say that's a really small critique

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in a very, very impressive performance.

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-Myleene, what did you make of it?

-Hugely impressed.

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Never easy to be the first choir to walk onto the stage.

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Nothing to compare to and also you have to set the standard,

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so be reassured that you've set it very, very high indeed. Well done.

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It is fair to say that

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when you change key you are going to adapt a different tone,

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that it's going to change the feel of that warm sound that you have.

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However, the competition is of a very high standard,

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so you have to find a remedy.

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You have to find a way to keep that warm sound within the choir

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and hopefully you guys can work on that. But, I think, well done.

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Grosvenor Grammar School, everybody.

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APPLAUSE

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That was our best and, when it comes to young people,

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you can only ask your best. So, I'm a happy lady.

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I think the judges' comments were really fair and they've really given us something that we can work on

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if we do get through in the final.

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It would be absolutely incredible if we got into the final.

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It would mean so much because we've tried so hard and come so far.

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Last year, our next choir made it to the final.

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Well, they're back to try and go one better.

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From Llanelli, it's Ysgol y Strade.

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# Be still for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around... #

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Feeling a bit nervous.

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All the memories from last year have come flooding back.

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We're ready for it. We know exactly what to expect, so we'll do our best.

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Mr Davies does get a bit stressed,

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but it's all for a good reason, really.

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And we really want to do well to please him, to be honest.

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He puts so much effort in, and if we manage to do well

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in this competition, it would mean a lot to him.

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We certainly feel the music in Wales. It's in our blood somehow.

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We enjoy singing and we enjoy performing.

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The judges' comments last year were very, very positive.

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We've had numerous emails from across the UK

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commenting on our performance last year and wishing us all the best,

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so we're building on that.

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I'm doing the solo on the first verse of Be Still.

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I'm quite nervous.

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But hopefully when I get on-stage it'll be all right

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and I'll just sing and give it everything.

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# Be still, for the presence of the Lord

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# The Holy One is here

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# Come bow before him now

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# With reverence and fear

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# In him no sin is found

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# We stand on holy ground

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# Be still, for the presence of the Lord

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# The Holy One is here

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# Be still, for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around

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# He burns with holy fire

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# With splendour he is crowned

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# How awesome is the sight

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# Our radiant King of light

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# Be still, for the glory of the Lord

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# Is shining all around

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# Distewch, cans mae nerth yr Arglwydd Ior

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# Yn symud yn ein plith

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# Daw i'n iachau yn awr

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# Gweinyddai ras fel gwlith

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# Fe glyw ein hegwan lef

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# Trwy ffydd derbyniwch ef

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# Distewch, cans mae nerth yr Arglwydd Ior

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# Yn symud y nein plith

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# Amen

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# Amen

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# Amen. #

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APPLAUSE

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Ysgol y Strade!

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So, David, do you know what you call that sort of singing in Wales?

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Tell me.

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Canu bendigedig. Beautiful singing.

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I thought so, anyway.

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I agree with you.

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I think from the very beginning the little harmonic bed that was laid

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for the soloist was beautiful, the soloist was great, because when singing in a

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choir, the temptation is to sound very choral,

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she sounded very natural.

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There's a saying that music, however well accomplished,

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must first touch the soul, and that performance did.

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If I wasn't judging you, I would've wanted to close my eyes

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and just listen, because sonically it was a feast.

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When you went into Welsh, and you did the harmonies,

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you changed the harmonic structure, and it was great.

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Myleene, it's one of my favourite hymns, did they do it justice?

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They know they did it justice.

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I would have liked to have seen even more evocative pictures

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when it came to the storytelling, the words, they're such evocative

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words. However, when you went into Welsh, it was so exciting, a real

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wall of sound just hit the audience, and I thought it was spectacular.

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Thank you. Suzi, what did you make of it?

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The first thing that struck me is that this is a choir

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that really does sing from the heart, and it's an amazing sound.

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When the unison voices came in on the second verse, it was breathtaking.

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When you're powering through the lines, which gives this

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extraordinary effect, you can compromise intonation.

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And what I would say is that to really get that chording,

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and the lines in perfect tuning

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and perfect intonation will take it to another level again.

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But, altogether, wonderful performance.

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Thank you, judges. Thank you, Ysgol y Strade.

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APPLAUSE

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CHEERING

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The comments from the judges were very good, mostly positive.

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There were a couple of things we could have done better.

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As soon as we hit the Welsh section it, absolutely, just, "bang,"

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it was perfect. I'm so happy.

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Hopefully we've done enough to get through to the final,

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and if we get there we will see how it goes from there.

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Our next choir are new to the competition,

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hailing from south-west England.

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It's Millfield School from Somerset.

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# Praise thy soul the king of heaven

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# To his feet your tribute bring... #

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We've travelled a long way to be here, I think we are

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delighted to be involved.

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We're delighted to be taking part, we want to give of our best,

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do our absolute best and that's all we can hope for today.

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We've just had a practice, and obviously it's gone well,

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so, yes, feeling more confident than I was this morning.

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All of the choirs here have very good reputations, they're good

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enough to get the semifinal, so they're certainly good enough to win.

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We're probably a little bit nervous about singing in a big venue

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that has a proper stage, all the lights, all the cameras,

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it's just a completely new experience that none of us are used to.

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# Praise my soul the king of heaven

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# To his feet your tributes bring

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# Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven

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# Who like me his praise should sing

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# Praise him, praise him

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# Praise him, praise him

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# Praise the everlasting King

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# Praise him for his grace and favour

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# To our fathers in distress

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# Praise him still the same for ever

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# Slow to chide, and swift to bless

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# Praise him, praise him

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# Praise him, praise him

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# Glorious in his faithfulness

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# Angels, help us to adore him

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# Ye behold him face to face

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# Sun and moon, bow down before him

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# Dwellers all in time and space

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# Praise him, praise him

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# Praise him, praise him

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# Praise with us the God of grace. #

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APPLAUSE

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Big thank you to Millford, ladies and gentlemen.

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So, Myleene, a very familiar hymn, did it hit the mark for you?

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One thing with this hymn

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is the fact that people love it for its simplicity, however

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because of its simplicity, and its repetitive nature,

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you have to find different ways to make it expressive, just to keep

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it interesting for the audience.

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When you did come in and give more variation to the melody

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I thought it was beautiful.

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Thank you. Suzi, have they done enough to get through to the final, do you think?

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The first thing I'd like to say is, "Well done, lads!"

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You did a great job, really. Lovely, lovely singing.

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If I had to be picky,

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the "oo" vowel just has a slight colour, which

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disrupts the line, so make sure it's a proper "oo"

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without any diphthong in it, and that could transform the line.

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David?

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Yes, I did like the sound, I liked the uniformity of the sound,

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I liked the fact that when you sang together,

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your diction was brilliant, you were absolutely moving as one.

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I would've liked possibly a little more...

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There were hints in verse two, particularly

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when the boys came in and the harmony split of what was there,

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of the capacity that you have, to be a little more exciting.

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What I'm saying is, I would have liked to hear more,

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and that can only be a good thing, because quite often

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when you hear a choir, you're glad you're not hearing any more.

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Thank you, judges. Thank you, Millfield.

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Oh, it was great, it was so exciting, everything seems

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so much more real on stage.

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The most exhausting two and a half minutes of my life so far, I think.

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Well done, fantastic.

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Well, have you heard your favourite hymn yet,

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or maybe your favourite choir?

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Well, hold on, there are more hymns and more wonderful choirs to come.

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By the way, if you do have a favourite hymn, we are

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running a vote to find the UK's top ten,

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so if you'd like to register your vote then go on to our website.

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You never know, your favourite hymn could be performed at this

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year's Big Sing in London. Can't be bad.

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Now, our next choir are ready, it's their second time in the competition,

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it's Tonbridge Grammar School from Kent.

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# Just as I am

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# Without one plea

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It's really great to be here, Liverpool is an amazing city,

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and it's also a great venue.

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The hymn Just As I Am is one of my favourites,

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it was my mother's favourite.

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It's about how God will accept you into heaven,

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no matter what you've done.

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I think a good school choir is not always about technique,

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you need to have good, solid technique, but it's

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about making the words live in your faces, to communicate with people.

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It's an honour to be singing with great choirs

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because that makes me think our choir could be as good

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as that, so, it is an inspiration to try and do our very best.

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# Just as I am, without one plea

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# But that thy blood was shed for me

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# And that thou bid'st me come to thee

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# O Lamb of God, I come

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am

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# I come

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# Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind

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# Sight, riches Healing of the mind

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# Yes, all I need In thee to find

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# O Lamb of God, I come

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am

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# I come

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# Just as I am of that free love

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# The breadth, length, depth and height to prove

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# Here for a season then above

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# O Lamb of God, I come

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am

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# Just as I am, I come. #

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APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

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Tonbridge Grammar School, everybody.

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Suzi?

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There was a magical, treacly quality to the sound, it's really beautiful.

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It's interesting that this rise from the B to the E on "of God",

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it's good when you are in unison, you produce it well,

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but you lose that support a little bit when it's in parts,

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and lastly, on a very positive note, I thought you had wonderful

0:24:380:24:40

dynamic control, and it really was spine tingling in places.

0:24:400:24:44

Thank you. David, what did you make of it?

0:24:440:24:46

I agree with a lot of what Suzi said, actually.

0:24:460:24:49

I think there is a sound that you have that is absolutely yours,

0:24:490:24:53

we haven't yet heard that in the competition.

0:24:530:24:55

On the other side,

0:24:550:24:57

when you were singing strongly on that last verse, it felt as

0:24:570:25:00

though there was a little bit of a looseness that wasn't there earlier.

0:25:000:25:05

And finally, your last "Come", on "Lamb of God, I come"

0:25:050:25:08

was a thing of beauty.

0:25:080:25:11

Myleene, what did you make of it?

0:25:110:25:13

I would first like to say,

0:25:130:25:14

I want to be in this choir for the accessories alone.

0:25:140:25:18

Do you get those red tights, do they just hand them out? They're fabulous.

0:25:180:25:23

I love the control that this choir has.

0:25:230:25:28

The diction is perfectly placed.

0:25:280:25:31

And yet, it doesn't feel like the technicalities of how this

0:25:310:25:35

choir work are taking away the personality of that, because

0:25:350:25:38

you have oodles of personality, so it is a lovely thing to see.

0:25:380:25:42

The ending I thought was magical, the hum just had everybody

0:25:420:25:47

on the edge of their seat, waiting to applaud,

0:25:470:25:50

waiting to thank you, but also not wanting it to end, so congratulations.

0:25:500:25:54

Think very much, judges, and also thank you Tonbridge Grammar School.

0:25:540:25:57

It was a live performance, and we did the best that we could do,

0:26:020:26:05

and I'm really proud of what we have done.

0:26:050:26:07

For me, the high point was that really controlled, quiet singing

0:26:070:26:10

just at the end of the last verse, they really pulled it off today.

0:26:100:26:12

I thought the judge's comments were going to be a lot harsher,

0:26:120:26:15

but they were really uplifting and good to hear.

0:26:150:26:18

Two choirs left to sing,

0:26:180:26:19

and the tension is definitely mounting in the hall.

0:26:190:26:22

Our next choir should be able to handle it,

0:26:220:26:24

they were in the final two years ago.

0:26:240:26:25

It's the High School of Glasgow.

0:26:250:26:28

# You know my resting and my rising... #

0:26:280:26:34

Well, we've made it through to the finals before,

0:26:340:26:37

so, that may give us an edge.

0:26:370:26:39

We've got a really good choir this year,

0:26:390:26:41

and everybody is so accomplished, it's just a great group to be in.

0:26:410:26:45

It's a very beautiful tune, it's very well written

0:26:450:26:48

and the harmonies are well written, so the lines are all cohesive.

0:26:480:26:51

I'm going to open the hymn with my solo, which is really quite daunting.

0:26:510:26:55

I think she will probably be a bit nervous, because there's a

0:26:550:26:58

lot of pressure on her, but I'm sure that she will rise to the challenge.

0:26:580:27:01

In competitions, you can't be trying to judge what the judges will want,

0:27:010:27:05

you've just got to give of your best and hope that the judges like it.

0:27:050:27:09

# O God, you search me and you know me

0:27:100:27:18

# All my thoughts lie open to your gaze

0:27:180:27:24

# When I walk or lie down you are before me

0:27:240:27:32

# Ever the maker and keeper of my days

0:27:320:27:40

# You know my resting and my rising

0:27:400:27:48

# You discern my purpose from afar

0:27:480:27:55

# And with love everlasting you besiege me

0:27:550:28:02

# In every moment of life or death, you are

0:28:020:28:11

# Before a word is on my tongue, Lord

0:28:110:28:19

# You have known its meaning through and through

0:28:190:28:27

# You are with me beyond my understanding

0:28:270:28:34

# God of my present My past and future, too

0:28:340:28:42

# Although your Spirit is upon me

0:28:420:28:50

# Still I search for shelter from your light

0:28:500:28:57

# There is nowhere on earth I can escape you

0:28:570:29:06

# Even the darkness is radiant in your sight

0:29:060:29:13

# For you created me and shaped me

0:29:130:29:21

# Gave me life within my mother's womb

0:29:210:29:28

# For the wonder of who I am I praise you

0:29:280:29:36

# Safe in your hands, all creation is made new. #

0:29:360:29:47

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

0:29:490:29:53

High School of Glasgow!

0:29:560:29:58

Myleene, what do you make of it?

0:30:000:30:03

Firstly, congratulations, you have a really rich,

0:30:030:30:06

warm tone to this choir, and I think that's because you

0:30:060:30:11

really are honing in and listening to each other and just, I think,

0:30:110:30:15

moving around each other, which is beautiful to see, and to hear.

0:30:150:30:19

When you sang a cappella, without any accompaniment,

0:30:190:30:24

it's a beautiful thing. You show your strength as a choir.

0:30:240:30:27

The first few bars, for me, were a little shaky, because the notes

0:30:270:30:31

are falling, and, again, that's where you need the support.

0:30:310:30:34

However, when you started to go into the rise from "there is nowhere",

0:30:340:30:38

when you started to go into the higher notes,

0:30:380:30:40

and you're climbing together again, it was joyous to behold.

0:30:400:30:44

-It was just spectacular.

-Thank you. Suzi, what did you make of it?

0:30:440:30:48

For my taste, the opening soloist was just stunning.

0:30:480:30:52

Loved the quality of singing.

0:30:520:30:54

APPLAUSE

0:30:540:30:57

Applause from your own choristers. Cor, that's something, isn't it?

0:30:590:31:02

If I would be picky, I would say it would be great to find just

0:31:020:31:06

a couple more basses, to support that great sound.

0:31:060:31:09

-But, you know, what a fantastic job you did. Thank you.

-Thank you.

0:31:090:31:14

David, were you impressed?

0:31:140:31:16

Yes, very impressed actually,

0:31:160:31:17

but not necessarily for the reasons you'd think.

0:31:170:31:20

I kind of agree with both the ladies.

0:31:200:31:22

I agree with Myleene in as much as it wasn't flawless,

0:31:220:31:25

but it was perfect.

0:31:250:31:26

And the reason it was perfect is because,

0:31:260:31:29

as Suzi was trying to say, you can have a performance that is

0:31:290:31:32

flawless that has no meaning, that has no spirit and no heart.

0:31:320:31:36

What you had was feel.

0:31:360:31:39

You connected with the lyric, you connected with the meaning,

0:31:390:31:43

you connected with the music, and that meant that I,

0:31:430:31:46

as a listener, completely connected with you.

0:31:460:31:49

That was a great performance.

0:31:490:31:51

Thank you, High School of Glasgow!

0:31:530:31:55

David Grant pointed out their communication

0:31:580:32:01

and their bringing across of the text. That was the best compliment.

0:32:010:32:04

Whatever happens, we've come and we've done a great performance,

0:32:040:32:07

and achieved what we set out to achieve.

0:32:070:32:09

Our final choir made it to this stage of the competition last year.

0:32:090:32:12

From Hertfordshire, it's Haileybury.

0:32:120:32:14

# Be still, for the presence of the Lord... #

0:32:140:32:19

I'm feeling a bit nervous, a bit pressured, but I feel like

0:32:210:32:24

we're quite prepared at the moment, so it's a good feeling.

0:32:240:32:29

We have chosen Be Still, For The Presence Of The Lord.

0:32:290:32:31

I've really gone for an arrangement that suits our choir,

0:32:310:32:34

that's full of blend, but exploring ranges

0:32:340:32:37

and different voice parts and giving everybody a chance to shine.

0:32:370:32:41

I think our chances are quite good.

0:32:410:32:42

There's really tough competition but I hope we'll go through.

0:32:420:32:45

I have no idea what the other choirs are like.

0:32:450:32:49

All I can vouch for is our own choir, and I feel it's

0:32:490:32:51

one of the strongest I've ever worked with at a school level.

0:32:510:32:54

It's our director of music's last year this year

0:32:540:32:57

and for a lot of us this is our last chance as well,

0:32:570:33:00

so we're even more motivated to get out there and do it this time.

0:33:000:33:03

We are better than last year

0:33:030:33:05

and I'm hoping that we can really go for gold this year.

0:33:050:33:09

THEY SING WORDLESSLY

0:33:090:33:14

# Be still for the presence of the Lord

0:33:280:33:34

# The Holy One is here

0:33:340:33:40

# Come bow before Him now

0:33:400:33:46

# With reverence and fear

0:33:460:33:53

# In Him no sin is found

0:33:530:33:59

# We stand on holy ground

0:33:590:34:06

# Be still for the presence of the Lord

0:34:060:34:11

# The Holy One is here

0:34:110:34:17

# Be still for the glory of the Lord

0:34:180:34:24

# Is shining all around

0:34:240:34:30

# He burns with holy fire

0:34:300:34:35

# With splendour He is crowned

0:34:350:34:42

# How awesome is the sight

0:34:420:34:47

# Our radiant King of Light

0:34:470:34:53

# Be still for the glory of the Lord

0:34:530:34:58

# Is shining all around

0:34:580:35:04

# Be still for the power of the Lord

0:35:040:35:09

# Is moving in this place

0:35:090:35:15

# He comes to cleanse and heal

0:35:150:35:20

# To minister His grace

0:35:200:35:26

# No work too hard for Him

0:35:260:35:32

# In faith receive from Him

0:35:320:35:38

# Be still for the power of the Lord

0:35:380:35:43

# Is moving in this place. #

0:35:430:35:49

THEY SING WORDLESSLY

0:35:490:35:54

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

0:36:070:36:10

Haileybury Choir, ladies and gentlemen!

0:36:160:36:19

So, Mr Grant, I loved that arrangement.

0:36:200:36:24

A fantastic arrangement.

0:36:240:36:26

It was actually possibly the most ambitious arrangement we've heard so far.

0:36:260:36:31

Fantastic harmonies, great harmonic spreads which I loved.

0:36:310:36:35

When you went up to that moving...

0:36:350:36:37

Moving in this place on the very last...the last chorus,

0:36:370:36:41

the placements of the sopranos weren't absolutely all together.

0:36:410:36:45

You had different placements, and that made it sound not quite as

0:36:450:36:49

bang-on as the rest had, but for me,

0:36:490:36:52

I thought it was ambitious, brave and brilliantly sung.

0:36:520:36:58

Almost all of it.

0:36:580:36:59

Myleene, what did you make of the choir?

0:36:590:37:02

Well done showing off that ability and testing yourselves

0:37:020:37:05

because you have to at this stage. You have to and you did it.

0:37:050:37:09

But I would like a bit more thought

0:37:090:37:11

into how you execute the trickier parts of songs like this.

0:37:110:37:15

Saying that, I thought your phrasing was beautiful

0:37:150:37:19

-and it was a really nice thing to sit back and enjoy.

-Suzi?

0:37:190:37:24

This is in a different league in terms of difficulty from everything.

0:37:240:37:28

I mean, in a different league.

0:37:280:37:31

And my view is that THAT is how young choirs learn.

0:37:310:37:34

You challenge them, you take risks,

0:37:340:37:37

but the most important thing is

0:37:370:37:39

the young singers and what they're getting out of it.

0:37:390:37:42

Good for you.

0:37:420:37:44

There were some technical issues.

0:37:440:37:46

So, to some extent, it's work in progress.

0:37:460:37:49

The men, when they sang first in unison and then went into two parts,

0:37:490:37:53

that was the best male singing we've heard in the competition.

0:37:530:37:57

APPLAUSE

0:37:570:37:59

Thank you, judges, and thank you, Haileybury.

0:38:010:38:05

I think we did well. Obviously nerves had an impact,

0:38:080:38:11

but I think we really shone through.

0:38:110:38:14

The comments were very detailed,

0:38:140:38:16

so I guess that reflects the level we're at.

0:38:160:38:19

But I think there's a feeling of, you know...

0:38:190:38:21

Cos we didn't quite come out of that as we wanted to.

0:38:210:38:24

Our judges have left the auditorium to try and come to a decision

0:38:240:38:27

on which three choirs will make it to the final.

0:38:270:38:29

If you haven't decided yet,

0:38:290:38:31

here's a reminder of all the choirs' performances.

0:38:310:38:34

# Be thou my vision... #

0:38:340:38:37

It was such a beautiful sound.

0:38:370:38:39

They started with those lovely unison lines

0:38:390:38:42

and were able to give that bloom at the end of each line.

0:38:420:38:45

I thought it was exciting and they just held my attention.

0:38:450:38:50

Do they have the technique as singers to really support their voices

0:38:500:38:55

so that the tonal quality doesn't change?

0:38:550:38:58

# Be still for the glory of the Lord... #

0:38:580:39:02

Typically, for Welsh choirs,

0:39:020:39:04

-there's this extraordinary robustness in the sound.

-Yes.

0:39:040:39:08

They started in English and it would have actually been to their strength

0:39:080:39:12

if they'd sung the entire thing in Welsh.

0:39:120:39:14

I thought the tuning was excellent, but inconsistent.

0:39:140:39:18

# Praise, my soul the King of Heaven... #

0:39:180:39:24

What I loved about this choir is that they had a beautiful shape to the line.

0:39:240:39:28

So, lightening the syllables that needed to be lightened.

0:39:280:39:30

It was very elegant.

0:39:300:39:32

At this stage in the game, they could have done more with the song.

0:39:320:39:35

They're a work in progress.

0:39:350:39:37

# Just as I am... #

0:39:370:39:40

I wanted to keep listening,

0:39:400:39:42

-not just writing and critiquing, but listening.

-Yes.

0:39:420:39:45

And also, when I did write, I was splitting hairs.

0:39:450:39:48

At this level, you still don't have

0:39:480:39:52

total uniformity on the sound

0:39:520:39:54

and placement and shape of all the vowels.

0:39:540:39:58

# You know my resting and my rising... #

0:39:580:40:04

They made me feel something.

0:40:040:40:07

As soon as they started singing, I thought it's a choir that knows what it's doing.

0:40:070:40:11

-I've written, "They sing with love."

-Yeah. I thought technically flawed, emotionally perfect.

0:40:110:40:16

# Be still for the power of the Lord... #

0:40:160:40:21

This choir has come on in leaps and bounds since last year.

0:40:210:40:24

I'd much rather hear something like this that makes me excited,

0:40:240:40:28

-rather than safe.

-My immediate feeling was work in progress.

-Yeah.

0:40:280:40:32

# ..To minister His grace... #

0:40:320:40:38

Right, all our senior choirs are back on stage and our judges are back with their decisions.

0:40:380:40:42

It's tense, it's exciting.

0:40:420:40:44

Didn't they do well, ladies and gentlemen?

0:40:440:40:47

Judges, a quick word on these choirs and their efforts today. Myleene.

0:40:510:40:55

The people that we see on the stage today are to be highly commended

0:40:550:41:00

because what you see are just a few minutes of, um...a piece.

0:41:000:41:04

However, behind the scenes, what really does go on,

0:41:040:41:07

the blood, sweat and tears, the dedication,

0:41:070:41:09

trying to make it to rehearsals,

0:41:090:41:11

learn those words, learn to sing as one,

0:41:110:41:13

there is so much that goes into this. This is the real deal.

0:41:130:41:17

High praise indeed. David?

0:41:170:41:19

It's been said that there are more people singing now

0:41:190:41:22

than at any time for the last 40 or 50 years

0:41:220:41:24

and I think that what we've heard today

0:41:240:41:27

shows us that the future of choral music is in really good hands.

0:41:270:41:31

I'm looking at the next generation of singers and thinking, wow!

0:41:310:41:35

Suzi, any words of encouragement to the three choirs that don't make it to the final?

0:41:350:41:40

Well, I was going to say, for those who don't make it,

0:41:400:41:43

everything's work in progress, there's never perfection.

0:41:430:41:47

Please come back bigger and better.

0:41:470:41:49

OK, I'm going to ask each of our judges to announce the name

0:41:490:41:52

of a choir that has made it into the final. Myleene, can you please

0:41:520:41:56

reveal the first senior school choir going through to the final?

0:41:560:42:00

The first choir going through is...

0:42:000:42:03

..The High School of Glasgow.

0:42:060:42:08

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:080:42:10

David, can you please tell us the second choir going through to the final?

0:42:170:42:21

Yes, the second choir going through to the final is...

0:42:210:42:25

..Tonbridge Grammar School.

0:42:280:42:30

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:300:42:32

Suzi, can you please reveal the name of the last choir going through to the final?

0:42:400:42:45

The last choir going through to the final is...

0:42:450:42:51

..Grosvenor.

0:42:540:42:56

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:42:560:42:58

So there we have it. We'll be back with the final next week.

0:43:050:43:07

I personally can't wait. Let's hear our appreciation

0:43:070:43:10

for our other semi-finalists who didn't quite make it, ladies and gentlemen.

0:43:100:43:14

Next Sunday it's the big one.

0:43:250:43:26

The final - the three junior and three senior school finalists

0:43:260:43:30

will each sing an inspirational song of their choice

0:43:300:43:33

to try and become the Songs Of Praise School Choir of the Year for 2013.

0:43:330:43:37

You'd be mad to miss it. Bye-bye.

0:43:370:43:40

APPLAUSE

0:43:400:43:42

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:44:030:44:05

Aled Jones is in Liverpool as the best six senior school choirs in the land sing for the celebrity judges, Myleene Klass, Suzi Digby and David Grant who decide which three choirs will compete in the final.


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