Twelve-year-old Freddie Simpson from Farnham is set for stardom. The nation will tune in to watch him and four other junior semi-finalists in BBC Young Chorister of the Year 2023 this weekend.
The More House School pupil, who has been singing since the age of eight, has reached the semi-finals, which will be televised on BBC One’s Songs of Praise at 1.15pm this Sunday, November 19.
Freddie found that he really loved singing after being encouraged by a fellow pupil to sing as part of a warm-up in a music lesson at his previous school, Edgeborough.
With the support of his music teacher, Kate Davies, he began singing with Robert Lewis, who has been his singing teacher ever since.
“I was really nervous to lead the group in at first, but with a bit of persuading, I did it, and that’s how it all started,” Freddie said.
He sings as a member of the boys’ choir at St Thomas-on-The Bourne, a standard similar to a cathedral choir. Girls and boys can join for free, and there is a separate choir for adults.
“It’s good because you can be with your friends, and I love the sound that my choir can make when we sing as a full choir with the adults. I also like it when other people enjoy my singing.”
When asked what his favourite song is, Freddie said it’s hard to choose just one, given the different pieces he has performed over the years.
“He loves singing choral music because he really enjoys singing in the high part of his voice, but he has performed quite a lot of modern pieces, too,” added Jo, Freddie’s mum.
“Songs from Matilda and Les Misérables and a few Lewis Capaldi and Adele covers.”
Talking about the competition, he said he enjoyed singing with other choristers from across the UK, and he commented on the amazing acoustics of The Monastery, Manchester.
He also had a voice coaching session with Aled Jones MBE, a radio and television presenter famous for his recording of Walking in the Air.
“It was a lot of fun, and it made me feel more relaxed and comfortable, and Aled gave me some helpful tips on my pieces,” said Freddie.
All the semi-finalists performed a song with the Welsh singer at the end of the competition. Freddie described the sound of their voices singing together as “amazing”.
Post-competition, young Freddie has big plans for the future.
“I would like to record an album!”
Freddie will also perform in concert at Sacred Heart Church, Waterlooville, on Sunday, December 10, at 4 pm if you want to see him perform in person.