The ‘Qatar Primary School Choir of the Year’ (QPSCoY) competition, recently launched by Doha College in partnership with the Shangri-La Hotel Doha and fronted by QPSCoY ambassador Dana Al Fardan (founder and CEO of DNA Records), announced that international youth choral expert Greg Beardsell will be an adjudicator for the final of the competition. In addition to contributing to the judging panel, Greg will also run workshops for each choir competing in the final, thanks to support from DNA Records.

Also on the panel will be local choral music expert Alena Pyne, founder and conductor of the Doha Youth and Junior Choirs, Assistant Conductor with Qatar Concert Choir (formerly Doha Bach Choir), and who most recently worked as assistant Choir Master with Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra’s children’s choir. Irish-born, Alena has studied and been involved in music all her life and is passionate about music education especially for children. She read music in Trinity College Dublin, is a qualified piano teacher and also studied the Irish harp. Alena is currently studying at Qatar Music Academy in preparation to take diploma exams in singing and music direction with the ABRSM.

Adding sparkle to the final of the Qatar Primary School of the Year Competition, the Doha Junior Choir have been invited to sing as special guests. The Doha Junior Choir, are a well-versed children’s group that have participated in numerous events in Qatar and elsewhere, they will perform one of their wonderful pieces, to share the love of music and inspire the finalists. Alena expressed her joy at the new event: “This is all so exciting and positive. We will support this great initiative in any way possible.”

Primary schools across Qatar are invited to register online. In light of this exciting development, the entry deadline has been extended to Thursday 16 February 2017.

Greg is a leading specialist in music education and performance. He is Artistic Director of the International Youth Choirs Festival to be held at the Royal Albert Hall, London in April; Musical Director of the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, the Irish Youth Choir and the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland; Deputy Artistic Director of the National Youth Choirs of Great Britain and Choral Director for the Gabrieli Consort and Players’ education initiative, Gabrieli ROAR. 

He works worldwide as a conductor, workshop leader and presenter and has adjudicated at the Grand Finals of the UK ‘Choir of the Year’ competition and the Llangollen Music Eisteddfod.

In recent years, Greg has held the directorships of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and Ulster Youth Choir and has worked with the St. Endellion Festival Chorus, BBC Symphony Chorus, London Bach Choir and the London Symphony Chorus and collaborated with conductors such as Marin Alsop, Edward Gardner and the late Sir Colin Davis. He has conducted the National Youth Orchestras of Ireland and Ulster, the City of London Sinfonia, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra.

Most recently, he conducted the 2017 Peace Proms in Liverpool. The Peace Proms celebrate culture and diversity and promote peace, unity and tolerance through music. The grand finale comprised 3000 children singing with the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland. 

He said of Qatar’s upcoming competition,

I am delighted and honoured to be part of this exciting new venture and cannot wait to come and meet choirs from across the country, who will bring music from across the world to share with their peers. It will be a true celebration and demonstration of Qatar’s diversity. I have never been to the Middle East before and am really looking forward to learning more about Qatar and its rich cultural heritage.’