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Issue Date:- 10 November 2008

The BBC's Choir Of The Year 2008, In Liverpool

Hereford Cathedral School Chamber Choir sang "Ferry Cross the Mersey" on the ferry to launch the BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year Category Finals, part of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture celebrations. The Grand Final takes place on 7 December 2008 at Royal Festival Hall, London.
This photo above is with thanks to the BBC.  All other photos in this report where taken by Patrick Trollope.

BBC Radio 3 'Choir of the Year',  the UK's largest amateur singing competition and the inspiration behind BBC1's 'Last Choir Standing' was in Liverpool on Saturday, 8 November and Sunday, 9 November 2008, at the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

This fantastic show was made part of Liverpool's European Capital of Culture '08 celebrations and what a show it was. TV stars Aled Jones (Songs of Praise) and Suzi Digby (Judge, Last Choir Standing) led the two-day singing extravaganza with not one, not two, but twenty four of the finest amateur choirs in the country taking to the stage and delivering quality entertainment for all ages. From gospel and hip-hop, to barbershop and traditional, a pitch perfect performance was a must and the audience could see, and feel, the tension building through out each performance.

This entertainment did not stop at just singing. The event took no prisioners as the judges, Suzi Digby and Howard Goodall, (the Government's 'music tsar' and composer of famous theme tunes including Mr Bean, Blackadder and The Vicar of Dibley), gave live feedback. Highlights of the Liverpool Category Finals are broadcast on BBC Radio 3's The Choir on Sunday, 16 November 2008, and Sunday, 23 November 2008, at 6.30pm, on BBC 3. Aled Jones will present the broadcast. The Grand Final will be held in London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, 7 December 2008. Choirs in the Category Finals will have beaten over 180 others to reach this point. Only six will go through to the Grand Final.

Before the event, Aled Jones, presenter and Choir of the Year host, told the media that:- "Liverpool has an amazing singing heritage from the Beatles and the Zutons through to Liverpool and Everton football fans singing their supporters' songs. We're delighted to be coming to the City for the Category Finals. We look forward to welcoming as many people as possible over the weekend, from singing fans to those just discovering the variety of modern group singing - there will be something for everyone."

Suzi Digby, BBC1 Last Choir Standing and Choir of the Year Judge said:- "I've been involved in Choir of the Year for the last five years, it is the foremost competition of its kind in the UK, the standard of singing is exceptional. I am looking forward to the weekend immensely and hope as many people as possible will be able to join us in the audience and revel in some amazing performances, as well as the hugely popular workshops and sing-alongs."

Roger Wright, Controller, BBC Radio 3, said:- "BBC Radio 3 Choir of the Year brings together singers from communities across the UK and demonstrates how music is at the heart of people's lives. The Category Finals are no exception, the standard and range of singing over the weekend promises to be very high."

On the Saturday we popped back stage to see what was going on. One of the choirs told us:- "It is fun to be in Liverpool. We are having a fantastic time and every one is so welcoming. We even got wished good luck as we walked along the street! It would be nice to win, but the standard is so high..." The Grand Finals are broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 8 December, and BBC Four - see TV Listings. For full information about the competition, please visit

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