Norbreck primary academy are finalists in Barnardo's National Choral competition for the sixth time

The Blackpool school will compete against the best British choirs at the virtual finals

By Lucinda Herbert
Tuesday, 1st February 2022, 5:17 pm
Updated Thursday, 3rd February 2022, 4:26 pm

Norbreck Primary Academy are warming up their voices for the Barnardo' s National Choral competition.

They will compete against 23 other school choirs at the event which will be held virtually.

It was originally planned to be held at the Barbican Centre in London, but it has now been cancelled. Finalists will be invited to submit recordings instead.

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Norbreck Primary Choir, conducted by headteacher Karen McCarter, have made the national finals of the Barnados Childrens Choir competition for the 6th year running.

It’s the sixth time the choir has qualified for the finals. They last competed in March 2020 - but the pandemic put a stop to their activities. Lockdowns and a ban on singing meant they were unable to rehearse through most of 2020/21.

So this year’s choir has had to work much harder to reach the national standard.

Headteacher Karen McCarter, who runs the choir, said: “Only six of the children had previous singing experience. Normally we have two-thirds of the choir who have competed the year before, but because of Covid I was starting with children that were completely new to singing.”

The children, all in years four, five and six at the school on Norbreck Road, rehearse every lunchtime. They will perform two songs on the night; Cantate by Emily Crocker,

And Catch a falling star by Bob Chilcott. They sing in two and three part harmonies.

Most of their rivals are from prestigious fee-paying schools in the south, which makes the choir’s continued success worth celebrating. It costs the school £2050 to travel to the competition, which has been covered by donations of £1000 by Counsellors Callow and Sloman, £875 from Blackpool Democratic Services and £250 from Friends of Blackpool Music Service.

Julie Sloman, counsellor for Norbreck ward said: “It’s lovely to see young people have the chance to represent the town on a national level. You hear so much about children’s life chances being poorer in Blackpool, and it makes this even more of an achievement. For a little primary school in Blackpool to get to that standard and represent the town at the Barbican centre is phenomenal.”

The competition started in 2008 and is the biggest of its kind in the UK. Each year the competition raises over £30,000, which goes to help disadvantaged children and young people through the Barnardos charity.