Schools go for Dream choir role

Hundreds of young singers from across the region are facing an anxious wait after entering a national choir competition.

Hundreds of young singers from across the region are facing an anxious wait after entering a national choir competition.

A handful of schools from Norfolk and Suffolk have joined nearly 1,000 from all over the UK to be in with a chance of starring in a production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The online singing competition for five to 11-year-olds coincides with the BBC's Any Dream Will Do show, which is searching for a new male lead for the hit West End musical.

Pupils from Thetford, Dereham, Wisbech, Coltishall, Downham Market, and Gisleham now have a nervous week's wait to find out if they have made it into the top 20 choirs, which could see them performing live on prime-time national television and on a London stage.

Students and teachers from one of the competing choirs, Norwich Road Community Primary, in Thetford, spoke of their "excitement" yesterday as voting resumes on Monday.

The group of 20 eight and nine-year-old girls and boys, who originate from Thetford, Portugal, China, and Peru, was ranked 50th in the online BBC competition before its website froze earlier this week because of "phenomenal" traffic flow.

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Pat Sodey, choir director and gifted and talented arts co-ordinator, said she was "delighted" that the school was in with a chance of making the final 20, which will be announced on Friday.

Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will help chose the winning choir, which will sing at the final Any Dream Will Do show and a special Children in Need musical in the London West End.

"It is tremendous because they have never experienced anything so public like this before and the children are really, really excited because there is a real chance they can get in the last 20 if everyone really supports us, which will be terrific.

"They would love to go to a BBC studio. Their enthusiasm enthrals audiences and they are all from original Thetford families," said Mrs Sodey.

Other schools that have entered a 60-second clip of their singing talents include Wisbech Grammar Junior Section, currently ranked 217th, Coltishall Primary School (350th), Gisleham Middle School, near Lowestoft (354th), Toftwood Junior School, near Dereham (629th), and Hillcrest Primary, in Downham Market (646th).

Voters can support their school's choir at www.josephchoirsearch.co.uk from Monday.

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