Meet ... The Choirgirl Isabel

Posted 06/12/10

For the first time in the history of recorded music a jobbing choirgirl has signed a record deal

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At the age of 12 Isabel Suckling - now known simply as "The Choirgirl" - is not only the first choirgirl but the youngest solo classical artist in history to be offered a record deal by a major label.

York Minster’s Isabel Suckling is managed and mentored by Britain’s favourite choirboy, Aled Jones, who has been with her every step of the recording process. It was 25 years ago that Jones famously conquered the pop charts, and the nation’s hearts, with Walking In The Air. No chorister since has come close to the success he achieved. Jones fondly remembers his time as a choirboy, and wants to draw on his unique experience, and expertise, to guide Isabel as she sings her way into the charts.

Aled Jones said, "On hearing Isabel’s voice I wanted to be involved in nurturing her special talent. She has such a great quality and I am very pleased to play a small part in enabling her to reach a wider audience".

The Choirgirl’s voice is something special indeed, having been chosen from the hundreds auditioned from cathedrals and churches all over the country. Now, with this album, not only the congregation of York Minster will be given the chance to enjoy this pure-toned perfection.

The Choirgirl, Isabel offers everything one could wish for from a chorister in the spotlight. The repertoire includes beautiful traditional favourites such as Fauré’s Pie Jesu, All Things Bright And Beautiful and The Ash Grove, as well as two of the loveliest of all Christmas carols, In The Bleak Midwinter and The Virgin’s Slumber Song, and the most affecting rendition of the beloved hymn The Day Thou Gavest.

Alongside these evergreens are also many fascinating modern choices, such as Einaudi’s For Tomorrow, and Howard Goodall’s Ecco Homo, recognisable to most as the theme to Mr. Bean. TV’s star choirmaster Gareth Malone (of BBC series The Choir fame) has composed Lux Aeterna especially for Isabel. She gives winning interpretations too of such popular classics as Bright Eyes and, for the 30th anniversary of his assassination, John Lennon’s Imagine.

The selection is also notable for two duets; The Choirgirl is joined by her mentor Aled Jones, but as a choirboy! Through technical wizardry Isabel duets with Jones’ original vocal track of All Through The Night which was recorded in 1986 but never released. And one of today’s most talented trebles - Britain’s Got Talent finalist, 14-year-old Liam McNally - is featured here singing Panis Angelicus with his peer.

Remarkable too is Isabel’s version of You Are Not Alone. It was a No.1 for Michael Jackson in 1995 and will be vying for the top-spot again as a Christmas single, whilst earning money for the Age UK charity.

One listen to this record and it becomes clear how Isabel, blessed with an entrancing voice of heart-warming purity, could well become the public’s ideal incarnation of a chorister.

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