Anja Blackwell (Year 12) from Midhurst Rother College is singing with Seaford College Chapel Choir at Jonathan Antoine’s concert on Friday 6th November at the Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne. Sara Reynolds, Head of Voice & Choirs at Seaford College invited Anja to join the Chapel Choir after hearing her sing. Anja said: “When my head teacher, Dr Vitagliano said that Sara had invited me to perform with the Seaford Chapel Choir and Jonathan Antoine I thought it was such an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t turn down. I have seen the choir perform and really admired the standard. When I was at Graffham and Dunction schools I came to Seaford for sports day and music workshops and have always loved it. When I heard Sara had invited me it was a real honour and a big surprise it is amazing to be asked”
Anja added: “This is my fourth rehearsal at Seaford and I have learnt so much. I was nervous at the first rehearsal but I have always thought that once you sing with a choir your nerves settle down. There is a nice friendly atmosphere here at Seaford and at my first rehearsal Beci Eden, the Head Chorister, made me feel really welcome. I’m really looking forward to performing Ave Maria and I Vow to Thee my Country.”
Sara Reynolds said: “I first heard Anja sing many years ago and most recently at her school concert in the Summer and was very impressed. I have always wanted to invite Anja to perform with us and when this opportunity came up with Jonathan I thought it would be a great concert for her to perform at. We have really enjoyed having Anja here at rehearsals and she is a wonderful addition to our Chapel Choir. The evening will be so exciting and we are all looking forward to performing with Jonathan.”
Dr Vitagliano said: “We at MRC are delighted that Anja is involved with the work of the Seaford College Chapel Choir. Anja is thrilled about the prospect and her parents are fully supportive of the proposal (as is Midhurst Rother College). We are deeply proud of Anja – she is one of our best students and we want her to access every opportunity she might have. It would be exciting to increase the collaboration between Midhurst and Seaford so this seems an ideal first step.”
Holly Graham, Seaford’s soloist at the Gary Barlow concert in 2014, has also been invited back to Seaford to join the Chapel Choir for the night with Jonathan having graduated from Seaford in the summer. Holly is currently preparing for her auditions for the Senior Conservatoires. Holly is at the Junior Royal Academy in London where Sara Reynolds is also Head of Voice.
Sara also taught Jonathan at the Junior Royal Academy from him being 15 years old. Jonathan enjoyed learning with Sara and when commenting on his forthcoming tour said he was: “very much looking forward to working with the choir and of course seeing the lovely Sara again.”
Follow the links to watch videos of Seaford College Chapel Choir rehearsing
I Vow to Thee my Country
Jonathan rose to fame when he and former singing partner Charlotte Jaconelli came second in the finals of Britain’s Got Talent in 2012, and signed a record deal with Simon Cowell followed by two hugely successful Top 5 albums.
Last October Jonathan released his debut solo album Tenore which took the top spot on the classical charts for three weeks.
Labelled the “Teenage Pavarotti” by the press Jonathan’s rise in popularity has included performances at the Apple ITunes festival with Placido Domingo & Vittorio Grigolo, sharing the stage with Joss Stone at London Poppy Day and taking part in the Autumn Proms and Classical Spectacular at the Royal Albert Hall for all six dates.
Jonathan said: “I am thrilled to be announcing my first solo tour. The venues I am playing are all quite intimate so it’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to really get close with my audience and hopefully entertain them.
“The last three years have been an absolute whirlwind since Britain’s Got Talent and I am continually grateful for all the fantastic support I have received and continue to do so from my wonderful fans.”