Monday, 16 May 2022

Girl, 16, chosen to join national choir

A MEMBER of Charvil Girls’ Choir has been chosen to join the National Youth Training Choir of Great Britain for outstanding young singers.

Teresa McKendrick, 16, from Woodley, was selected after having an audition online.

She said she was “shocked” to be chosen for the national choir as she had strained her voice beforehand.

The choir provides training for 15- to 18-year-olds with natural talent to develop their vocal and musicianship skills.

Teresa attends Waingels College in Woodley, where she is studying for
A-levels in music, English language and geography.

She lives with her parents John, who is head of chemistry at the University of Reading, and Joyce, an exam invigilator, and has six siblings.

She has been a member of the village girls’ choir since she was 13 and was encouraged by organiser and teacher Suzanne Newman to audition for the national choir.

“I really was so nervous,” said. Teresa. “I sang in front of conductor and presenter Greg Beardsell, who is known for his work with the BBC Proms. He also worked on the film Cruella, which came out last year.

“I also sang in front of soprano, conductor and teacher Felicity Hamilton, who started her career with the National Youth Training Choir. It wasn’t the best time for me because I had strained my voice in my classical exam not long before, which made things difficult.

“With the help of my parents, I got in touch with a speech language therapist at the University of Birmingham.

“They gave me some advice and exercises for recovering and rehabilitating my voice.

“I also had a laryngoscopy to make sure my vocal cords weren’t damaged and luckily they weren’t.

“I then ran into some technical issues before the audition but the staff were so nice and they helped out.”

She was at school when she received an email saying she had been accepted for the choir.

“I was just so shocked,” said Teresa. “I went home and told my parents who were thrilled and that night we went for a celebratory meal.”

She received feedback from the audition, which read: “You clearly cherish your choral singing opportunities and it was good to hear about your school choirs.

“You really do emotionally connect with your singing but you can do even more.

“There is a lovely emotional connection to your singing, Teresa, and you phrase your singing very instinctively. Having that feeling of sob as you sing can really enrich your sound.”

Teresa has been singing since she was six but says she was shy when she first joined Charvil Girls’ Choir.

“I was very nervous and I wasn’t sure if I would be accepted,” she said. “I was so quiet and when I was asked to sing solos, I would feel freaked out and my hands would feel clammy.

“Now it is second nature to me and I’m not scared any more. The choir group with Suzanne has really boosted my confidence.

“Singing is a very intuitive thing for me, so much so that sometimes I find myself singing without even realising I’m doing it.

“It brings me a lot of joy to be able to share this skill and connect with other people.

“I’m not sure quite yet what I want to do for a career but if I have the opportunity to have a career in singing in any form it would be amazing.”

Teresa’s favourite pieces to sing include Solveig’s Song by Grieg and the folk song She Moved Through The Fair.

“In terms of choral singing, my choir The Project Singers are learning a beautiful arrangement of God Help The Outcasts from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which I absolutely adore,” she said.

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