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Page last updated at 15:38 GMT, Monday, 8 November 2010
New Forest children through to Choir of the Year final
New Forest Children's choir
The choir performed for eight minutes at the Birmingham Symphony Hall

The New Forest Children's Choir has won an award in the final of the Choir of the Year competition.

The 19 singers from Hampshire and Dorset, aged from five to 12 years-old, represented the south of England in the children's category.

Musical director and conductor Alison Russell-Hayward said: "To get to this point is absolutely extraordinary."

They were up against three other top children's choirs at the Birmingham Symphony Hall on Saturday.


During the final, the choir performed for eight minutes in front of a panel of judges and an audience of supporters.

The New Forest singers saw off the three other finalists in the children's category - Inverclyde Schools' Junior Choir, Warwickshire County Boys' Choir and Westminster Boys' Choir.

Ms Russell-Hayward said: "They are incredible, I do love the challenge of channelling their energy and enthusiasm. I do crazy things like put a sticker on the end of my nose before they start."

I do crazy things like put a sticker on the end of my nose before they start
Alison Russell-Hayward


Ms Russell-Hayward, a professional soprano, set up the choir two years ago to bring together children from different backgrounds and schools in the New Forest area.

The children began their journey to the finals in April after entering the first round of the competition in Basingstoke.

Over 2,000 choirs from the south took part in the area selection stage.

The Category winners and two wild-card winners selected from any category will go head to head for the title of Choir of the Year at the live grand final on 28th November at The Royal Festival Hall, broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and BBC FOUR.

Since the competition began in 1984, more than 125,000 singers from over 2,000 choirs have taken part.

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