Posted on April 22, 2018

Qatar Primary School Choir of the Year (QPSCOY) competition returned for its second edition and lined up 12 choirs from schools across Qatar. Held at the Shangri-La Hotel Doha over three days and organised by Doha College, the contest aimed to develop choral singing among children in Qatar by offering a platform to meet and learn from peers, perform to a wide audience, and enjoy a dose of healthy competition.

Since its launch in 2017, the successful ripples of QPSCoY on choral singing in Qatar is evident, with school choirs being formed especially for the competition, and new choirs joining year on year. As a measure of how much QPSCoY catalysed the passion for singing, the Dukhan English School choir travelled 80km twice a day for three days to sing alongside the other competitors.

Returning lead adjudicator Greg Beardsell, an international choral expert from the UK, was delighted to see a significant increase in the number of engaged children this year.  As part of the event, he hosted a specialist singing workshop on day one, for 450 enthusiastic musical students from participating primary schools. The competition was lucky to also have the musical expertise of several auspicious guests including Kees Wieringa (Dutch pianist and composer, currently residing in Qatar as director of the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum), Giovanni Pasini (chief conductor of the Qatar Youth Orchestra and the Qatar Chamber Choir) and Olga Protopopova (principal of the International Centre for Music in Doha).

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Dana Al Fardan, Qatari composer who wrote the bespoke song “Wings of the Falcon” for the inaugural competition in 2017, was thrilled to reprise her role as QPSCoY Ambassador. Speaking at the final, Dana said: “When Doha College asked me to be Ambassador for this competition just over one year ago, I didn’t imagine that in this time, choral singing among children throughout Qatar would take off in the way that it has. QPSCoY deals with the very youngest of musicians, and they have all worked incredibly hard to be where they are. We look forward to welcoming more choirs next year, and as Qatar grows, so should a sense of responsibility to fulfilling the need for arts and culture in its society.”

The competition was graced with a performance by Doha Youth Choir, a highly accomplished group that performs internationally and whose members receive specialised training in sight-singing, notation and theory, vocal technique and music interpretation.  With exposure to a great variety of classical and contemporary choral repertoires alongside their elite training under the expert direction of Alena Pyne, the youths were delighted to perform for, and inspire their younger peers at the event. Alison Keane, music teacher at Doha College and founder of QPSCoY, expressed her hopes about the future of the competition: “I am extremely grateful to this year’s organisers for their hard work in continuing to develop my vision for choral singing. I will look forward to witnessing the growth of QPSCoY and take great pride in giving this legacy to the wonderful State of Qatar.”

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QPSCoY Director Steph Gomaa, director of music at Doha College, stated: “A little competition is healthy for young musicians.  It encourages a team ethos and the diligence and dedication required, in order to prepare works and present your best at an event such as this, is not to be underestimated.  As such, I am thrilled with the standard of choral singing displayed throughout the three day competition.  It shows how much time, effort and hard work talented young singers have been putting in, not to mention their incredible music teachers.”

To watch the video of the final, check Facebook’s “Doha College Authorised Page”.

Competition Results:

First Place – Doha English Speaking School “Voice Squad”

Second Place – King’s College Doha

Third Place – Dukhan English School “Descants”

Stagecraft Award – Doha College “Fortes”

Repertoire Award – Doha College Al Waab

Vocal Skills Award – Doha British School