Anna Haestrup has been announced as one of BBC Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year 2019. The competition awards two choristers – one girl and one boy – with the title.
The grand final took place at the BBC Philharmonic Studio at Media City, Salford with eight contestants from around the UK, aged between 11 and 17 years of age, performing in front of a panel of judges.
For Anna, this was her fourth time entering the competition but her first opportunity to sing in front of the judges.
Anna explains: “I first entered in 2016 and was the reserve (which means you have to prepare for the competition and be there on the day in case one of the four finalists gets taken ill or has problems with their voice), then the second year I didn’t even get through the first rounds and the third time I was the reserve again. I wasn’t put off though and just thought I’d keep applying!”
Anna is a music scholar at St Paul’s Girls School in Hammersmith, where she is lead soprano in the Paulina voices. She is also a chorister at Saint Mary’s Church in Barnes. Anna impressed the judging panel with her performances of David Willcocks arrangement of The First Nowell and Reger’s The Virgin’s Slumber Song.
The judging panel this year included composer and conductor Bob Chilcott (Chair of Judges), vocal coach to the stars, Carrie Grant, world famous opera singer, Gerald Finley and classical singing star, Camilla Kerslake.
“Every year so much work went into the competition and with every year that I didn’t go through, I knew that I just had to work harder the next year and learn from the mistakes I’d made, to give me a better chance at succeeding.”
Now in its 33rd year of broadcast, BBC Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year celebrates young talent singing for worship in churches, chapels, cathedrals and beyond. Anna’s fellow winning chorister, William Miles-Kingston from St Peter’s School, York, wowed the audience with his performance of Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter and The Sussex Carol arranged by David Willcocks’.
William said of his win, “I am really happy to be one of the Young Choristers of the Year, especially knowing how talented the other finalists were. Taking part was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to singing for the BBC during the year.”
Anna is excited about the year ahead and says: “I am so proud to be Chorister of the Year and I am excited for the opportunities ahead. I’m so relieved that I tried, tried and tried again because winning this competition means so much to me. It is a lesson I am going to take to heart for the rest of my life. Perseverance combined with love and support is what gets us through our setbacks and helps us learn from our mistakes.”
Previous winners have gone on to appear in West End musicals and operas, signed recording contracts and made appearances with prestigious choirs and artists across a variety of musical genres.
Last year’s winners, Cassian Pichler-Roca and Emilia Jacques have recorded a CD with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for BBC Music Magazine and have appeared on BBC Radio 2’s Good Friday “At the Foot of the Cross”, “Friday Night is Music Night”, “Good Morning Sunday” and other programmes across Radio 3 and Radio 4.