Diocese of ChichesterDiocese of Chichester

Cathedral's Head Chorister wins BBC competition

Cathedral's Head Chorister wins BBC competition

Celebrations as Head Chorister from Chichester Cathedral wins BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition!

Chichester Cathedral's former Head Chorister, Raphael ‘Rafi’ Bellamy Plaice, has won the boys’ section of the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition.

Thirteen-year-old Rafi was Head Chorister of Chichester Cathedral Choir until July of this year. Rafi joined the choir in 2011 and said of his win: “When I joined Chichester Cathedral Choir at age seven I never would have believed one day this would be happening!”

Rafi made it through two rigorous preliminary rounds before performing in front of an expert panel of judges at the BBC Philharmonic Studios in Salford, broadcast in a special programme on Radio 2 on Wednesday 25th October. The eight finalists were judged on vocal quality, technical skill and performance.

Rafi’s talent was developed by outstanding musical training at the Cathedral alongside a nurturing education at The Prebendal School in Chichester. Following his six years as a chorister, during which time he toured Germany, France and the Netherlands, Rafi took up a Music Scholarship at Lancing College, where he now sings in the choir. His favourite composers are Mozart, Purcell and Gibbons. His other passions include Lego, studying Egyptology, and the works of JRR Tolkien.

The Dean of Chichester, the Very Reverend Stephen Waine, who is also Chair of Governors at The Prebendal School, said: “We are all very proud of Rafi, who made a huge contribution both to the Cathedral Choir and Prebendal School. To win this award is an enormous achievement, and our congratulations go to Rafi and all who supported him on the way to winning this important national award.”

Head of The Prebendal School, Louise Salmond Smith, said: “We are all so thrilled for Rafi as this is a very tough competition that has a first-class reputation around the world for producing musicians of the highest standard. We wish Rafi all the best for the future and we will be following his progress closely.”

For over thirty years, BBC Radio 2’s Young Choristers of the Year competition has celebrated young musicians who sing for worship in churches, chapels, cathedrals and beyond. The winners, a girl and a boy, receive a trophy and appear on various BBC programmes throughout the year, including Songs of Praise, as well as special events at Christmas and Easter. Previous winners of the award have included Isaac Waddington in 2012, another former Head Chorister at Chichester Cathedral, who went on to reach the final of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.

Chichester Cathedral Choir sings at Choral Evensong most days and also perform at other leading venues throughout the UK and overseas. Parents of boys who love to sing and would like more information about becoming a chorister at Chichester Cathedral are welcome to contact Charles Harrison, Organist and Master of the Choristers, at organist@chichestercathedral.org.uk All Chichester choristers are educated at the renowned Prebendal School. In order to make this unique opportunity available to boys from any background, Chichester’s Dean and Chapter offer bursaries worth 50% of the school fees to every chorister, with 100% bursaries also available.