28 November 2019

Penwortham Priory Academy made national television twice this month as Preston’s famous One Voice Choir succeeded through to the finals of the BBC Songs of Praise Choir of the Year competition.

The choir became homeless over the summer and needed a new base.  Choir Chair, Mrs Clementson is the Pastoral Manager at Priory and asked if the group could use the school in the evenings and they have now established themselves here in their new home.

"It’s been an emotional year for the choir with plenty of highs and our success in the Choir of the Year for Songs of Praise has topped it off.  There are 70 of us and we have had an extraordinary year in many ways,” said Mrs Clementson, with the choir a charity of 21 years.

“Firstly in May it was a massive honour to be part of Hugh Jackman’s World Tour at the Manchester Evening News Arena. I was approached by an American production company who had heard about us and it went from there and we supported Hugh Jackman for three consecutive performances which was amazing. It was surreal really but such a fabulous thing to do.

“We weren’t going to enter Songs of Praise this year but our Musical Director Tyndale Thomas suffered a brain haemorrhage so we decided we would do it for him.

“Then we found ourselves homeless but thankfully Priory came to our rescue and we will be ever grateful for that.

“We had our first rehearsals here over the summer and have had masterclasses from such people as Ken Burton, the Musical Director for Songs of Praise and also a leading figure in the Gospel world, which again was an amazing opportunity for our choir.

“Tyndale attended that and then he decided he was well enough to lead the Songs of Praise competition which was a huge boost to us all.

“The BBC came to film us at Priory, to show the build up to our story, and it was superb to be able to show off our award-winning gardens and our school to them.

“Penwortham Priory is a school close to our hearts. We came here eight years ago to do workshops with primary schools and, at the end of them, we held a concert with everyone from the younger generation to the older generation taking part.

“They have invested in us, they have given us a lifeline, and we have had members come through to us from the school so we feel we give something back.

"To be honest, although we didn't win, we feel like we have been winners already this year."

Mrs Clementson ended by saying, "On behalf of One Voice Community Choir I would like to thank the school for allowing us to rehearse in the school hall and for letting us bring the BBC to film at short notice. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts".