NAOMI Simon, 2022 winner of the BBC Young Chorister of the Year Award, has agreed to sing at her home city’s Community Choir Festival on March 11 at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.
Naomi, 16, was a chorister at York Minster before taking up a scholarship at Rugby School to pursue her love of music. She is the daughter of JoRo Theatre patron Frances Simon, a speech and drama coach in York.
Joining Naomi will be a fellow BBC finalist, soprano-singing Bootham School pupil Sam Brophy. Each will sing solos before they perform a duet together.
From the age of seven, Sam has sung in choirs across the country, and now that his family lives in York, he sings in the York Minster Choir. Last December, he was the soprano soloist for Walking In The Air at the York Minster performance of Carrot Productions’ The Snowman.
York Community Choir Festival was started by JoRo trustee Graham Mitchell seven years ago. From small beginnings, the event has grown to a format of 33 choirs of all ages and singing styles performing in eight concerts over seven days.
“In a little coup for the event, the organising group is absolutely thrilled that Naomi and Sam are able to perform a short set for us on the final Saturday of the week-long festival,” says Graham, the Jo Ro’s community engagement director.
“Naomi’s performance in the BBC live final displayed a wonderful maturity and understanding of the carol that she chose to sing, Mary, Did You Know?, which wowed the three judges.
“Naomi has a busy schedule and we’re extremely fortunate that she can be in York when the festival is on. The festival itself is a celebration of music making regardless of age, ability or genre.
“Any choir based in the York area can apply to join in. This year, in addition to the vast range of adult choirs, we’ll have two primary school choirs performing in different concerts and about 100 pupils from Huntington School will sing in four different choirs run by the school – all on the Thursday night alongside three adult choirs. “
Graham adds: “The variety of song, genre and singing styles is absolutely marvellous and there’ll be no repetition in any concert. To confirm the variety of music on offer, on the night Naomi and Sam will be singing, we’ll have the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir, ladies’ close harmony group Track 29, the mixed voices of The Celebration Singers and Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy.”
“The whole world of music will be on stage with at least four choirs performing in every concert. Show tunes, pop, folk, world music, classical, gospel, close harmony, blues and jazz will all feature.
“From primary school choirs to young adult choirs, adult choirs to pensioner-only choirs, singing in male, female or mixed voice choirs, the festival is a celebration of how people come together to make music and have fun.
“Pensioners choir The Rolling Tones and York Wellbeing Choir, for example, are both aimed at enjoyment and combating loneliness.”
Tickets for this fundraising event for the JoRo Theatre’s Raise The Roof appeal are available at £6 to £10 at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk or on 01904 501935 during opening hours.
Who is singing and when at the York Community Choir Festival
Sunday, March 5, 5pm
- The Lakesiders Children’s Choir
- The Rock Choir
- Community Chorus
Monday, March 6, 7.30pm
- Tadcaster Community Choir
- The Abbey Belles
Tuesday, March 7, 7.30pm
- The Daytones
- Dunnington Community Choir
- Main Street Sound
Wednesday, March 8, 7.30pm
- Sounds Fun Singers
- In Harmony
- Garrowby Singers
- Community Singers with Jessa
Thursday, March 9, 7.30pm
- Huntington School Choirs
- Spirit of Harmony
- Acomb Community Choir
- York Military Wives Choir
Friday, March 10, 7.30pm
- Aviva Vivace!
- York Wellbeing Choir
- York Phoenix Harmonies
- Bishopthorpe Community Choir
Saturday, March 11, 2.30pm
- Headlands School Choir
- The Elysian Singers
- The Rolling Tones
Saturday, March 11, 7.30pm
- York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir
- Track 29
- The Celebration Singers
- Robert Wilkinson Primary Academy
- Guest soloists Naomi Simon and Sam Brophy