Preston choir to battle it out on TV for title of Gospel Choir of the Year

Preston’s One Voice Community Choir will battle it out on television this weekend for the title of Gospel Choir of the Year.

The choir perform at this year's Lancashire Festival
The choir perform at this year's Lancashire Festival

The choir, which formed 18 years ago and has a 70-strong membership, is one of four outfits performing over two episodes of Songs of Praise on BBC 1.

The performances were pre-recorded, and although the choir won’t reveal whether they won or not, they can reveal that on the first show they sing How Excellent, and on the second show they sing Down By The Riverside.

Louise Gooch, spokesperson for the choir, said: “We submitted a video for the competition in the summer and then were invited to film down in Reading after we were shortlisted.

“We were in the finals in 2013 and have followed the competition since it was launched. It’s a brilliant thing to be involved in. All the choirs mix together backstage and sing together. It’s a really nice atmosphere.

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    “In fact we all sang a song together on stage as part of the show, and I’m keen to see that back.”

    To get competition-ready, the choir undertook workshops with well-known conductor Ken Burton.

    The televised performances had a special significance as they were conducted musical director Tyndale Thomas, who has been unable to undertake the duty recently because of ill health.

    Louise said: “What makes us special is the people who make up the choir, we’re like a family. That really comes across in our performances.

    “Tyndale also likes to get the audience involved, getting them standing up and singing.”

    Watch the choir on BBC1 from 1.15pm on Sunday, November 17 and 24.

    About the choir:

    The choir was set up 18 years ago, initially as a six-month project, but now has around 70 members and a waiting list.

    Members are from a range of different backgrounds and ages, with some travelling from Yorkshire to take part.

    Rehearsals take place at Priory Technology College in Penwortham, and the choir describe their music as “a blend of gospel and inspirational classics, with contemporary and original compositions.”

    Achievements include being finalists in the BBC Gospel Choir of the year, recording the BBC Children In Need song for Lancashire and performing for the Queen.