At the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Saturday 6 October, Surrey Hills Chamber Choir competed against three other choirs for the title of Adult Choir of the Year 2012. The competition was stiff: Chorus Amici, previous winners of the overall Choir of the Year competition, UCLAN (University of Central Lancashire) Chamber Choir, winners of this title last time out in 2010, and Les Sirènes, made up of past and present singing students from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow.
The Surrey Hills programme really seemed to capture the audience, from Ivan Hrušovský’s breathlessly exciting <em>Rytmus</em>, via Eric Barnum’s evocative <em>The Sounding Sea</em>, to Moses Hogan’s arrangement of the spiritual <em>My Soul’s Been Anchored</em>. The ovation at the end of the spiritual made a year of incredibly intensive hard work all worthwhile, and the judges’ comments immediately afterwards were just the icing on the cake. But even so, we really had no idea as we waited for the results that we had a chance of winning against this level of opposition.
When our name was announced, the choir and all its supporters went absolutely wild, and the party carried on in the bar of the hotel until past 3 in the morning! Onwards now to the Royal Festival Hall in October, when we face the winners of the remaining three categories, plus two wildcard qualifiers, for the overall title of Choir of the Year 2012.