13-year-old school girl Jessica Harper received some very exciting news just before Christmas: After a tough audition, the talented musician has been accepted into the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. The Queen Elizabeth Grammar School pupil is studying with singing teacher Barbara Gilbertson and is currently working on her Grade 7. Mrs Gilbertson describes her as “incredibly modest and very focused. Jessica is an outstanding soloist but also an excellent choral singer”.

Jessica’s musical heroes are Julie Andrews and Katherine Jenkins. “I listen to Katherine Jenkins a lot after I managed to see her in a concert in the Bridgewater Hall. I like her confidence and the way in which she sings with a lot of expression.” Julie Andrews is a role model because “I performed The Sound of Music in my exam and it is my favourite piece to sing.” Jessica is also an accomplished pianist, currently working towards her Grade 8 with music teacher Gill Wadeson. Her music takes up much of her free time: “I practise for both singing and the piano every day, and I enjoy that”, she explains.

The young musician’s life is about to become even busier. She has also recently joined the South Cumbrian Amabile Girls Choir and performed in their Christmas Concert. She will commence rehearsals with the National Youth Choir on a residential course in Oxfordshire at Easter. The National Youth Choir run two residential courses each year which both culminate in a concert at a major venue.


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