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/ 18 April 2012

Sloane Square musician in Songs of Praise success

Andrew O’Brien, Director of Music at Holy Trinity Sloane Square has successfully led one of the many choirs he coaches to their biggest performance yet – in front of millions on the BBC’s flagship Songs of Praise Choir of the Year Competition.

Heath Mount Children’s Choir in Hertfordshire is one of six Junior Schools competing for the top prize in this prestigious competition, and Andrew has worked with their music department for the past three years.

Andrew, who has been Director of Music at Holy Trinity Sloane Square for the past ten years, has contributed much to the musical life of many churches throughout the UK, and currently works on a voluntary basis in a range of local primary schools in Chelsea, where the opportunities to be involved in a choir, and receive real training, were not available before Andrew’s arrival. He has already re-established a boys choir, and is hoping to create even more opportunities for young people within the area.

Andrew said:

"If you had asked me five years ago if I would go into education, I never would have thought it. Seeing the way children develop through music and the community it creates had inspired me in so many ways, especially back in my own church at Sloane Square. I hope to fully establish a boys, girls and mixed choir in the area and continue to also work with schools. Music is all about community, whether that is between a few individuals or at a church and everyone should have the chance to be involved"

After conducting the National Youth Choir in Wales at just 17 years old, Andrew obtained a Scholarship to the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and moved to London in 2000. Here he met retired Bishop Michael Marshall, the then rector of Holy Trinity Sloane Square, who asked Andrew to do some concerts and services with him. Within two years, he had become Director of Music, and sees music as an instrument of his faith. In his time as Director, he has also worked with renowned musician Gareth Malone, conductor and presenter of BAFTA award-winning TV series The Choir, who deputised at Sloane Square, and sang in Andrew’s concerts.

The Semi Finals of the Songs of Praise Schools competition were televised on BBC 1 on Sunday 15 April and you can watch them here. The competition final will be aired on Sunday 29 April, presented by Aled Jones.


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