Harrogate man wins BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition

An NHS doctor and former member of Harrogate's Rock Up and Sing choir has won this year's BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition 2019.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 11:07 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 3:48 pm
Harrogate's Rock Up and Sing choir member Chris Black who has won the BBC Radio 3 Carol Competition 2019.

The national radio channel challenged amateur composers to create new music for Go to the Child, a new poem by Imtiaz Dharker.

The BBC team of judges whittled hundreds of entries down to a shortlist of six.

Listeners have been voting all week for their favourites before revealing the result that Chris Black, currently a member of new choir Reincantation was the winner.

Chris's setting of Go to the Child will now be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on Christmas Day 2019.

But what is Chris's background?

Chris said: "I first started singing in a choir in 2014 when I joined Rock Up and Sing in Harrogate. It was this experience that initially kindled my interest in choral music and writing for choir.

"I have continued to sing after Rock Up came to an end, becoming a member of the newly-formed "Reincantation" choir, who have been so much a part of the Christmas festivities in the local area this year.

"I live in Wetherby. I work as an NHS doctor, in gastroenterology, at St James's University Hospital in Leeds and I am also active in medical research, studying for a PhD in Medicine at the University of Leeds, alongside my clinical role.

"I have always had a keen interest in music, and particularly in composition. In 2003, whilst studying music at A-level, I was BBC Young Composer of the year.

"Despite not continuing my formal musical studies, I have maintained my passion for music over the years.

"I am a keen pianist, I sing baritone in a local choir, and continue to compose music in my spare time.

"I entered the BBC Radio 3 Christmas Carol Competition, which challenged composers to set the specially commissioned poem, "Go to the Child" by Imitiaz Dharker to music for a choir.

There were around 400 entries, and so I was delighted to be one of the six shortlisted finalists.

"Choral music is synonymous with Christmas, and I was keen to make some time for festive composition this year."

The overall winner was decided by public vote. The six pieces have been performed by the BBC Singers conducted by Bob Chilcott.

Another talented Harrogate musician also made the shortlist was Anthony Gray.

Anthony is director of music at St Wilfrid's Church in Harrogate.

He had previously been organ scholar of Southwell Minster after graduating from Cambridge University where he was organ scholar at Pembroke and Robinson Colleges.

Anthony grew up and went to school in Ilkley and as a sixth former, held the organ scholarship at Bradford Cathedral.