Chorister Louisa hits the high note

Young stars: Louisa Stirland, chorister of the year, with Aled Jones, and Isaac Waddington, 13, from Portsmouth
Young stars: Louisa Stirland, chorister of the year, with Aled Jones, and Isaac Waddington, 13, from Portsmouth
Share this article
Have your say

Dulcet-toned Louisa Stirland is one in...millions.

The Preston teenager has sung her way to top spot in the prestigious BBC Young Chorister of the Year contest.

The Penwortham Girls’ High School pupil has been singing “forever” and although she has her sights set on a career as an opera singer, she only entered the contest at the last minute.

Louisa said: “My dad came across it on the internet and asked if I wanted to enter so we had to just two days to do a recording and send it all off.

“That was just before the summer holidays and really, I forgot all about it until we received a call to say I was in the final.”

Based on her CD, Louisa and her parents, Tony and Dianne, travelled to London last weekend for the the grand final, presented by Aled Jones in front of a packed house at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square . It featured contestants from around the country who each performed in front of a team of highly acclaimed judges.

The panel included Suzi Digby, the international choir director and renowned promoter of young voices, David Hill, the highly respected choral advisor and chief conductor of the BBC Singers, Ken Burton, the musical arranger and director of the London Adventist Chorale and soul singer Mica Paris.

Louisa said:”It was absolutely brilliant. We could hear the other finalists singing and it was so exciting.”

Besides studying for her GCSEs, the year 11 scholar also sings with the Girls’ Choir and the Young Peoples’ Choir at Blackburn Cathedral. She has a singing lesson once a week and gets tuition through the cathedral choir.

Now though, besides the prestigious title and a trophy, she will be given tuition with a top vocal coach.

The prize will also give her the chance to appear on national radio and television. And she will feature on BBC 1’s Songs of Praise early in the New Year.

The modest teenager said: “I’ve have singing lessons for quite some time but only had proper lessons when I joined the cathedral three years ago.”

She practices every morning and also rehearses with the choir and takes part three or four times a week.”

After school the talent youngster plans to go to college and music college.

She said: “I want to be an opera singer.”