West Mids’ choir singer shortlisted for BBC carol competition

Strictly Embargoed until 9am Wednesday 12 December 2018

David Hughes

Singer and musician David Hughes nominated for BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition … for second consecutive year.

A new Christmas carol composed by a member of Birmingham Bach Choir is in the final of the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition – for the second year running!

Having made it through to the final in 2017 with Sir Christèmas, Wolverhampton-based David Hughes is back in the running for 2018 with the recently written The Bee Carol.

The prestigious BBC Radio 3 competition challenged amateur composers to create new music for The Bee Carol, a poem by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy. Over 400 entries were received with the final six chosen by judges including Master of The Queen’s Music, and former CBSO resident composer, Judith Weir, and esteemed choral composer and conductor Bob Chilcott. Finalists were announced on the Breakfast Show on Wednesday 12 December 2018, where The BBC Singers performed each competing composition in full.

David, 63, who lives in Compton, Wolverhampton, studied music at Wolverhampton Grammar School, before becoming a corporate lawyer in London, Birmingham and finally back in Wolverhampton as a consultant with FBC Manby Bowdler.

Now retired, he sings with Birmingham Bach Choir, who he first joined in 1986. He also plays jazz piano in a local swing band, and arranges their versions of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook.

Commenting on his setting of Carol Ann Duffy’s The Bee Carol, David said: “I wanted to create an intimate feel to the carol, reflecting the mood of the poem, and so chose to set it for unaccompanied choir in the manner of a lullaby. I tried to avoid imitating any bee sounds, but could not resist a play on the word ‘cluster’ – and its musical meaning – in the last line of the carol.

“It is a reflective and intimate poem, with some very evocative words.”

Prior to the final announcement, Birmingham Bach Choir will be performing David’s earlier 2017 shortlisted carol, Sir Christèmas, as part of their festive Nine Lessons And Carols service at St Alban’s Church, in Highgate, Birmingham, on Sunday 16 December 2018 (3.30pm, admission free).

A recording of David’s The Bee Carol can be found on the BBC Radio 3 website, sung by The BBC Singers, and will also be performed as part of BBC Radio 3’s Afternoon Concert (17 December 2018, 2pm). Online voting is open now until Thursday 20 December 2018, 5pm, with the winning carol announced on the Radio 3 Breakfast programme the following day (21 December 2018).

For more information, and to vote for David’s carol, see: www.bbc.co.uk/radio3


Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition 2018 – shortlist announced (available from 12 Dec 2018 via iPlayer).

BBC Radio 3 Afternoon Concert – Radio 3 Carol Competition (available from 17 Dec 2018 via iPlayer)

For more information on Birmingham Bach Choir, see: www.birmingham.bachchoir.com

Sunday 16 December 2018
Nine Lessons and Carols
Join Birmingham Bach Choir for a traditional festive service, featuring a selection of carols. Includes a performance of David Hughes’ BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition 2017 shortlisted Sir Christèmas.
St Alban’s Church, Conybere Street, Highgate, Birmingham B12 0YH
Free / donations

For more information on Nine Lessons and Carols see: Celebrate Christmas with Birmingham Bach Choir.


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