GLOWING tributes have been paid to Barnsley Youth Choir who performed with guest choirs from across Europe to an audience of almost 3,000 over two days to celebrate ten years of the hugely successful choir.

The BYC10 Festival included three concerts at the Metrodome Arena on Friday and Saturday, featuring 800 singers from 12 choirs. It culminated in a massed finale concert on Saturday where 550 singers filled the stage prompting repeated standing ovations and moving many to tears.

Dan Jarvis MP introduced the concerts which were all compered by former BBC Look North presenter Christa Ackroyd.

There was a touching moment at the end of the finale where Christa called a visibly moved and surprised Mat Wright - founder of the choir - back to the stage. A ‘music video’ was played in which the children of the BYC paid tribute through an especially-written song to his ten years’ work with the choir - ranked in the top five in the world after success at various international competitions.

Mat said the festival had been a major logistical challenge involving hundreds of people, days of rehearsals and workshops and rigorous organisation, but he said it went ‘even better than I’d hoped’.

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“I felt incredibly proud of the kids - they were simply brilliant,” he said.

The massed finale featured 550 singers from eight choirs - BYC’s Senior Choir and Intermediate Choir, its sister choir for adults Barnsley Singers, Honley Male Voice Choir, the Aurin Choir from Hungary, the Stockholm Cathedral Youth Choir from Sweden, the National Youth Choir of Great Britain Fellowship, and the BYC Alumni made up of former BYC members. The Friday afternoon youth concert had also featured the three BYC Children’s Choirs - East, West and Central, the BYC Junior Choir for children aged four to seven, as well as briefly the older members of Little Singers - the sister organisation for babies and toddlers who joined in the finale Hallelujah.

Star guest Paul Phoenix (pictured) sang with the choirs as guest soloist at each performance. The double Grammy award-winning former King’s Singer had also worked with the choir as a vocal coach in workshops leading up to the concerts.

“He is a world famous, incredible talent and it wasn’t about him just coming and singing. He is absolutely committed to everything we are about, and he coached our singers and worked with them, and sang with them in a way they will never forget. It was just incredible to have him with us.”

Paul has since thanked the choir for involving him.

“I’m honoured to have been a part of this special, once-in-a-lifetime event. I’ve made new friends, for life and am so grateful to have become part of the BYC family.”

Pictures: Sarah Brabbin and Ian Wallace.