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Proms 2018

On behalf of all of us here at the BBC Proms, BBC Ten Pieces and our very happy Sunday audience, THANK YOU and WELL DONE for all the hard work your staff and performers put into making the Ten Pieces Proms such a huge success. I appreciate that at this time of year this is not an easy undertaking so sincerely thank you for making it happen and for all of your support.


click on picture to view enlarged version


Photo credits: Chris Chistodoulou


The choirs gave brilliant performances on Sunday and have received special mention in all of the reviews, including a 4* review in the Telegraph (see attached and below). We are all immensely proud of what they achieved, especially those who had never sung anything like O Fortuna or performed at this level before.

The second Prom was live on Radio 3 and you can listen to it for 30 days after the broadcast: The interval (from 54’30’’) features some lovely interviews with performers (thank you to the Southend performers for doing this).


Here are some lovely reviews and posts from happy families…

Classical Source Pt.1

“The Ten Pieces Children’s Choir performed with gusto and precision ‘O Fortuna’ from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and Kerry Andrew’s No Place Like.”

Classical Source Pt. 2

“The first half closed in emphatic fashion with ‘O Fortuna’ from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana and the massed voices of the Ten Pieces Choir and the BBC Singers, dynamics well-observed, and the conclusion was suitably frenzied.”

The Arts Desk

“The opening of Carmina Burana… featured the Ten Pieces Children’s Choir, brought together from youth choirs founded as part of the project. They were bolstered by the BBC Singers, but even so, sounded impressively weighty and precise, easily mistakable for an adult chorus.”

“On a similar subject, Kerry Andrew’s No Place Like took children’s ideas of home as the basis for an unaccompanied choral work, again performed with impressive assurance by the Ten Pieces Children’s Choir. This was another aspect of the programme that had appeared in previous events, but well justified repetition”

The Prickle

“Another obvious highlight was “O Fortuna” from Carmina Burana, featuring the overwhelming combo of the Ten Pieces Children’s Choir and the BBC Singers, on top of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, who blew the roof off.”


Photo credits: Chris Chistodoulou

The reviews continue to flood in from our recent Proms appearance.

Mahler Symphony No 8 BBC Proms, Sunday 22nd July 2018

"The Arts Desk" - The speeds remained just the right side of hectic, and wrought miracles of exuberance from the Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs, angels with dirty faces as Goethe’s closing scene from Faust starts its steady ascent.  This is the ultimate Proms spectacular, and all involved did it proud.

Guardian - The combined forces of BBC National Chorus of Wales, the BBC Symphony and London Symphony Choruses, and the Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs sounded awesome throughout.

"TrendFem" -  They were accompanied by the scintillating voices of the BBC National Chorus of Wales, the London Symphony Chorus, the BBC Symphony Chorus, and the Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs

Almost magically all singers, of the BBC National Chorus of Wales, the London Symphony Chorus, the BBC Symphony Chorus, the Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choir and the eight soloists, managed to make it work.


Photo Credit: Mary Grace Nguyen

Classical Iconclast - Under Søndergård, the BBC NOW is at a peak  but the glory of this performance was built on the choral forces he had to hand - the BBC National Chorus of Wales (Adrian Partington, chorus master), the BBC Symphony Chorus (Neil Ferris) and the London Symphony Chorus (Simon Halsey) with the Southend Boys' Choir and Southend Girls' Choir (Roger Humphrey).

Seen and Heard International - The best moments continued to be either purely orchestral ones or those hair-raising tutti moments from soloists, BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC Symphony and London Symphony Choruses, Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs and BBC National Orchestra of Wales such as during the headlong race to the end of the work.

Listen to the entire Prom11 Mahler Symphony of a Thousand via BBC IPlayer

Proms 2011

Proms 2011

Prestigious concert for the Choirs

80 members of the Southend Boys' and Girls' Choirs took part in the BBC Proms last year.  

On Sunday 17th July 2011, they joined forces with Eltham College for Boys Choir and CMSO Youth Chorus to perform the children's chorus parts of Havergal Brian's "Gothic Symphony".  Conducted by Martyn Brabbins, over 1000 performers will be involved in this massive work, which, although completed in 1920, was not performed until 1961.

The work earned an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest symphony.  
The performance took place at the Royal Albert Hall, and amongst the groups performing are BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC National Orchestra of Wales with 6 adult choirs.  80 singers, aged 11 - 19 took part in the concert.

Proms Trebles

"Many different elements made the Proms Gothic performance the runaway success that it was. The quality of the singing of the Southend Boys’ and Girls’ Choirs was one of those elements, and far from the least, and on behalf of the Havergal Brian Society I offer you – and those who brought to your performance into such fine shape – our thanks and congratulations."

John Grimshaw, Chairman, Havergal Brian Society


"the massed choirs intoned the wonderfully unexpected hushed chords"

– Daily Telegraph

"Martyn Brabbins and his hordes did a truly magnificent job, and those who were there are unlikely to forget the experience".

– Guardian

"this impressively well-drilled performance under Martyn Brabbins, with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Concert Orchestra."

- Evening Standard

"Brabbins did a superb job in controlling orchestras and choirs alike to capture so astutely the required array of effects."

– Music OMH

"The massed ranks of eight separate choirs managed what are fiendishly challenging parts with aplomb and deserve to be listed accordingly: Eltham College Boys Choir, CBSO Youth Chorus, Southend Boys and Girls Choirs, Brighton Festival Chorus, Huddersfield Choral Society, London Symphony Chorus, BBC National Chorus of Wales, The Bach Choir, Cor Caerdydd. Two aspects particularly seem worthy of record – the moments where different sections seem to be singing different lines determinedly against each other – not as cacophonous as one might imagine and the near unaccompanied section which as the pre-prom radio feature noted harks back to the world of Tallis."

Havergal Brian's - Gothic Symphony (extracts from 2nd Movement)


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