Commonwealth Music Competition 2018/2019
Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2018/2019

Commonwealth Youth Orchestra & Choir Announces Music Competition Winners

London, 21 September 2020 – The Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir (CYO) is pleased to announce the winners of two of its landmark music contests – the Commonwealth Music Competition and the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2019. The results were delayed until this time on account of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Ian B. Wilson is the winner of the Commonwealth Music Competition 2019. Mr. Wilson is a music graduate of Durham University, where he received composition lessons from Robert Casken, and is currently a secondary school head teacher. He is a member of the Colchester New Music Group and has had his music compositions performed across the eastern region of the United Kingdom.

Wilson has written for many ensembles, including the British Clarinet Ensemble, the National Flute Choir, and the Dunblane Chamber Orchestra, which performed his Three Songs from A Shropshire Lad in May 2012 with tenor Gordon Wilson. Wilson’s winning composition, A Commonwealth Childhood, has been published by Kingfisher Music, which acts as the publishing arm and sales outlet for Commonwealth Music International. It is being released today.

Acknowledging the Commonwealth Music Award, Wilson said: "I'm delighted to be chosen for the Commonwealth Music Competition Prize 2019. The CYO is a cause close to my heart. I feel full of pride whenever I watch the children from our school singing in the children's choir and it has given me huge pleasure to write for them."

The three joint winners of the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition 2019 are Bishop Anstey Junior School Choir, Creative Saint Helena, and Star School Glee Choir. Bishop Anstey Junior School is a private school in St. Ann’s Valley on the outskirts of the Trinidad & Tobago capital, Port of Spain. Creative Saint Helena is based on Saint Helena Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean. Star Primary School is a state primary school in the London Borough of Newham.

As part of their entry in the Commonwealth Children’s Choir Competition, the choirs were asked to write 500 words about the importance of music in their communities. The Bishop Anstey Junior School Choir said they prided themselves on the importance of music at their school. Within the school community, music is a timetabled subject for all students. School choirs and musical groups perform regularly at invited performances, especially at the biennial Trinidad and Tobago Music Festival.

Creative Saint Helena said music has always been important on the island. Live music is an important part of St Helenian culture and is as diverse as the island’s people. Creative Saint Helena is a registered arts charity working on the island. It promotes, facilitates, and creates opportunities for young people to access, engage and participate in the arts. Singing is keenly encouraged in schools.

The children of Star Glee Choir wrote about music being their passion. “It can make you forget all of your problems, even if just for a minute.” They felt it was crucial to keep music in their lives. As one choir member said: “Music is important to me because music is the other half of my soul. Without music I would be only half of myself.”

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association very kindly sponsored these Commonwealth Music Competitions. The Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Stephen Twigg, one of CYO’s Commonwealth Honorary Vice - Presidents, said: “I am delighted that the CPA has been able to support the Commonwealth Youth Orchestra and Choir for many years, particularly given the value of its community engagement at grassroots levels through music within the Commonwealth. I would like to congratulate Ian B. Wilson and the three children’s choirs on their awards. I look forward to continuing the CPA collaboration with CYO in educational projects involving young people in all 54 nations of the Commonwealth.”

CYO Director-General Sally Shebe said: “Clearly, the biggest common denominator in the various CYO music awards is the importance of music in communities. Music has an unique dynamic that transcends all racial and international divides. At Commonwealth Music International, we work tirelessly to deliver unique opportunities for musicians across the 54 nations of The Commonwealth.”

Ian B. Wilson, Bishop Anstey Junior School Choir, Creative Saint Helena, and Star Glee Choir are now Commonwealth Music Ambassadors for the next 12 months. As part of his prize, Ian B. Wilson’s composition, A Commonwealth Childhood, will soon be recorded by the Commonwealth Orchestras and Choirs. His instrumental piece, A Fanfare for The Commonwealth, is being recorded this week for release in November. The three children’s choirs have received cash prizes for their achievements.


Ian B. Wilson<br>
Winner of
Commonwealth Music Competition 2019
Ian B. Wilson
Winner of Commonwealth Music Competition 2019

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

Stephen Twigg, Secretary-General,
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA)

Photo Credit: Chris Lobina

A short complication of the 3 winning entries
of the Commonwealth Children’s Competition 2019.
The 3 choirs sing “A Song for the Commonwealth”,
composed by Simon Haw MBE, the Winner of the
Commonwealth Music Competition 2016.