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BBC Young Chorister of the Year Competition 2023 Tricia Yourkevich WCS Wells Cathedral School Independent Prep Somerset England

Belinda wins BBC Junior Young Chorister of the Year 2023

We are absolutely delighted to announce that Year 8 pupil Belinda Gifford-Guy has 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 – our prize-winning girls only choir – and the Chapel Choir, which regularly performs in Wells Cathedral and other concert venues.

Belinda was accompanied to the final by Christopher Finch, Head of Vocal Studies, who commented:

We are so proud of Belinda. I had the enormous privilege of being at the competition in Manchester and I was absolutely delighted by the professionalism, musicianship and the pure joy that she showed through both days of filming. 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.”

Alastair Tighe, Head Master of Wells Cathedral School, added:

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. We are extremely proud of her achievement and look forward as a School to helping her develop even further in the future.”

To watch Belinda’s performance in the final, visit BBC iPlayer.

For more information on choristerships at Wells click here and for more information on the School’s specialist music programme click here.

Our thanks to photographer Tricia Yourkevich for capturing this special moment!