YOUNG singers have united with hundreds of people to fill one of the region’s premier music venues with praise.

A combined choir from sister schools Emmanuel College, Gateshead, and Bede Academy, Blyth, joined the All Souls Orchestra at Prom Praise North East at The Sage, Gateshead, for two performances combining the spirit of the BBC’s Songs of Praise with the world-famous Last Night of the Proms.

The annual event, conducted by principal conductor and artistic director, Noël Tredinnick provided a mix of sacred and concert music, blending hymns and worship compositions with an orchestral backing, alongside selections of spiritual music.

Guest soloist for both performances was operatically trained director of music at Bede Academy Helen Kerr.

“Our combined youth choir was created from the two existing choirs at Emmanuel College and Bede Academy and they have gelled extremely well together,” said Mrs Kerr.

“We were originally approached by Noël Tredinnick who asked us to be part of the Prom Praise North East event which is a great honour.

“The choir had one full rehearsal together at Bede Academy before The Sage and they gave an exceptional performance.

“Performing with a full orchestra backing is thrilling and I hope that we can make our music as spiritual as we can to help bring the act of worship alive.”

Guest speakers at the Prom Praise event included Rev. Ian Garrett and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu.

Proceeds from the performances were donated to support the work of the North East charity Aquila Way and The Langham Arts School project.

Before the performance, soloist Olivia Byrom, 13, of Bede Academy, said: “I’ve been singing for ages but only started to take proper lessons in Year 7 at Bede.

“This will be my first time singing on the stage at The Sage and there is a lot of pressure with my family watching in the audience. Knowing Mrs Kerr is right beside me will help me to stay calm.”

Phillippa Barber, 17, of Emmanuel College, added: “I’ve sung at The Sage before at our school’s prizegiving evening and it was very special.

“It’s quite scary to be singing a solo but an incredible feeling to think of all the famous people who have stood there before me – it’s an amazing opportunity.”