St Peter's 13-18
Will Miles-Kingston has won the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition. The 13 year old won the title as this year’s boy chorister and was delighted to bring the award home to York.
Eight contestants from around the UK, aged between 11 and 17 years of age, competed in the final, where one girl and one boy were awarded the title. To win this prestigious accolade, Will competed with three other shortlisted boy finalists at MediaCityUK. After a day of rehearsals and interviews, Radzi Chinyanganya hosted the final competition in the BBC Philharmonic Studio. Will was the last boy to sing and treated the audience to an exquisite performance of Holst’s In the Bleak Midwinter and The Sussex Carol arranged by David Willcocks. The judges commended the confidence in Will’s singing and enjoyed how he engaged his audience through telling the stories of each piece. They added that Will had “a lovely musicality” before making their decision to award him the prize.
Will began singing at York Minster in 2014. As a chorister, he had singing practices as part of the school day and sang up to four services each week. He has performed a wide range of solos from Allegri’s Miserere to Mendelssohn’s O for the Wings of a Dove to Blake’s The Snowman. These opportunities helped build in him a level of focus and courage that was clearly visible in the final.
Will finished his choristership in July 2019 and has continued to develop his singing and performing at St Peter’s School, York, where he is a music scholar. As well as classical music, he is enjoying singing songs from the shows and playing jazz trumpet. In a busy first term, Will has had the opportunity to play alongside the Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, play in the National Concert Band Festival and sing Evensong at Durham Cathedral.
As Young Chorister of the Year 2019, Will, along with the winning girl chorister, Anna Haestrup from St Paul’s Girls School in London, will be recording with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and performing on a number of broadcasts. He will also be singing live as the soloist with the St Peter’s Chapel Choir, who will be accompanying the BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship programme to be broadcast on 26 January.
Will said of his win, “I am really happy to be the Young Chorister of the Year 2019, especially knowing how talented the other finalists were. Taking part was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to singing in various venues during the year. I am also looking forward to returning to sing at York Minster with the St William’s Singers, which will be very special.”
Robert Sharpe, Director of Music at York Minster commented, “Will’s work as a Minster chorister was exemplary not just for his outstanding voice and huge contribution as a soloist at services, but also as a team-player and keen supporter of his peers. This result is a very fitting recognition of his talents.”
Jeremy Walker, Head Master of St Peter’s School, York added, “We are tremendously proud of Will and wish him every success as Young Chorister of the Year. He continues the centuries old tradition of choral singing here at St Peter’s, where sacred and secular music form an essential part of everyday life at the school. We are very much looking forward to inviting listeners from all over the world to tune into Radio 4’s Sunday Worship on January 26th, where they will hear Will and St Peter’s Chapel Choir perform.”