Monday, 03 July 2017 20:43

Summer Concert & Lion Opera

We had a wonderful concert in Broadstairs on July 1st!  A terrific event again and everyone was fully involved.  It was good to see our newest and youngest singers giving their “all”!  There was some great acting and singing in James Olsen’s opera, “One of our brothers is a lion”.  Thanks also to the parents who helped so much behind the scenes.

Once more the weather was typical of Broadstairs.  It was especially good to have time on the beach afterwards, instead of rushing off.

We also had the chance to thank Elizabeth Beroud for her sterling leadership as Chair of the two Choirs over the last eight years, overseeing several important occasions, including marking 21 years of the Junior Choir in 2014.


A few words from web admin:

Don't forget that the annual picnic replaces rehearsals this week.

It's been a privilege to edit the web site this year. A big thank you and well done to everyone for a wonderful year 2016/2017! We're so proud of everyone who has made this year a great memory. The choirs live off the parent volunteers and member's fees, and you've all been wonderfully generous with your time and money this year, thank you so much. (In case anyone should be as forgetful as myself and hasn't paid the term fees yet - I hope it's only me - please contact Niamh.)

Scroll down for a few photos from the concert in Broadstairs. Nick's professional photos will appear on the web site at the end of the week, so stay tuned! If you have photos you'd like to share, as always please contact Kicki.

Happy Summer!

Photos from the performance in Broadstairs of One of Our Brothers is a Lion!

Copyright Kicki Frisch



Monday, 29 May 2017 08:19

Lion Opera! Premiere Photos

We've got some great photos from the premier of One of Our Brothers is a Lion! on May 20th. As usual, Nick Charles very kindly volunteered his time and skill as a professional photographer to document the reception and performance. There are also a few photos from the rehearsal in the afternoon and performance by Kicki Frisch. We hope you enjoy the photos.

If anyone else has photos you'd like to share with us, plese drop Kicki a line. We'd particularly like to see the Instagram pictures that the bandits took!

The following photos are from the reception and after party, copyright Nick Charles:

The following photos are from the performance, copyright Nick Charles:

 The following photos are from the rehearsals, and some from the performance, copyright Kicki Frisch:


Monday, 22 May 2017 22:05

All of Our Performers Were Great!

The concert and premiere of One of Our Brothers Is a Lion! on Saturday was a great success! The church was packed full, and we've had so many lovely comments from the spectators. Well done everyone who worked so hard to make this a great performance. Thank you also to everyone who donated beautiful cakes to the cake sale afterwards - and to everyone who helped eat them! We raised a considerable amoutn of money for the choir, a huge thank you for your generosity.

Scroll down for some photos from the afternoon rehearsals. We have some beautiful photos of the performance on their way to the web site - in the meantime, if anyone has any photos they would like to share, please contact Kicki.

A Few Words From John

Beckenham Junior Choir and Beckenham Youth Voices gave a terrific concert on Saturday to an audience of two hundred, some of whom had travelled a long way.

In part one, we opened with “Sweet Gingerbread man”, by Michel Legrand.  Both Choirs love this and it is one of their “signature tune” items nowadays!  Then we had “Songs of London Town,” by Mervyn Burtch, using soloists and the full Choir, with some children reciting short poems on the theme of London.  This music is not easy and the young people’s talents was a joy to watch. 

Then five members of the Junior Choir sang solos from “When we were Very Young” (Music by H Fraser-Simson), using words which many of those present will have remembered from their childhoods.  Finally in part one, we had “Take me up the Tyne”, by Eric Boswell (he of “Little Donkey” fame); this song is part of a collection of his “Songs of the North East”, which I dig out from time to time.

In part two, the Choirs made an excellent job of a newly written opera by James Olsen.  James assisted with running the Junior Choir in its (and his) early days in the 1990s and has since risen to dizzy heights as a composer.  The joint Choirs combined acting, speaking, movement and singing for this thirty-minute work, which combined several different types of music (plainsong, Mozart, rock ’n’ roll, J S Bach).  The script showed James’s great sense of humour and of the ridiculous, with even references to “Dad’s Army”, as well as to various types of social media which (as you can imagine) pass me by!     

We have so many soloists in our Choirs that I have deliberately not named anyone. 

A special “thank you” to our expert voice coach, Stuart Kale, who is very popular with our Choirs and helps the singers to reach a high standard and encourages the newest members. The number of adults involved behind the scenes was greater than ever and I am hugely grateful to those who shared the tasks so efficiently.  

We look forward to repeating the opera on Saturday, July 1st. at Holy Trinity, Broadstairs (with a different part one).

In the meantime, we have “Bring-a-Friend-to-Choir” day on Wednesday and it will be good to build up our quantity of younger singers, as Youth Voices is developing wonderfully.

Congratulations to you all!


A Few Words From James

Dear all,

Lovely email from Geoff Haskins below, my grandpa and one of our patrons. I’m thrilled he came. He’s now 90, but full of energy still.


"What an experience, James!  The opera was so well received and everyone concerned must be congratulated for what must have been an enormous task: composing, rehearsing, logistics, infrastructure, catering, and all the rest of the minutiae that contributed to such a splendid event."

At the other end of the generational spectrum, my cousin Faye brought her husband and two girls, aged 6 and 8, and a mutual friend of ours also came with her two children of the same age. They all enjoyed it a lot, I gather. Serena Aylward, my successor as pianist to the BJC back in the 90s, brought her son Sebastian, who’s 4, and it was his first grown-up concert. He loved it and stayed throughout.

Just a few of the many positive things which I’ve heard came out of Saturday, and I’m sure there are lots I don’t know about. That, for me, is why music is more than just sound—it’s about an event, about bringing a community together, about people doing thing they never thought they could do, about opening up possibilities for young and old alike, which is why I think what we are creating together is so valuable. Thank you again so much, because without you my work would just be words and notes on paper.

Excited now for Broadstairs!


Cake decoration in progress!

Photos courtesy of Maya Channing:


Very last dress rehearsals, literally hours before the performance starts.

Photos courtesy of Kicki Frisch:



Thursday, 18 May 2017 22:18

Lion Opera! Dress Rehearsal

Only one more day to go to the premiere of One of Our Brothers is a Lion! Yesterday was dress rehearsal day, and nerves are beginning to show - sure it'll all be fine for tomorrow's performance though!

The very busy James Olsen, not only composer, but also pianist, vlogger and photographer, has already published a short but sweet video clip and some photos on his web site,

We've also got some pics by Donkey's mum, Kicki Frisch.

Enjoy - and don't forget to rehearse your lines for tomorrow!

Photos, copyright James Olsen:


Photos, copyright Kicki Frisch:


Monday, 15 May 2017 11:21

BYV Concert Photos from St. George's

Nick Charles took some beautiful pictures at the BYV concert in St. George's in Beckenham on April 1st


Monday, 15 May 2017 10:38

Lion Opera Trailer

Less than a week to go to the premiere and the choir is bustling with activity!

Here's a trailer for the opera, featuring music and rehearsal pictures. 


You can tell when musicians have worked together for some time  -  and with Beckenham Youth Voices it sounds and looks like a group of friends working happily together.  We had a typically varied concert in St. George's Church on thr morning of April 1st: music from “South Pacific”, folks songs, pop songs from the 1960s and 1970s, a number from “H M S Pinafore”. 

There was also a stunning performance of Bach on the ’cello from Anna.  Miriam accompanied one song on the flute and we had a solo song from Salvador (a new member to the Choir this season) and a trio singing in the Gilbert and Sullivan piece. There was a consistently high standard of performance and an appreciative audience.  At this concert we were able to promote the James Olsen’s opera, including lion-looking cakes to eat and a selection of masks to see. The Church kindly gave us a donation of £30 (gift aided!), even though they had invited us.  

Yvonne Adebola, former BYV member and now aged 24 and living in Barnehurst, especially wanted to return to sing an item.  It is rewarding to see how one-time singers with us have moved on so well in their lives.  Oliver and Joe, also former members, came to hear the concert.

You can see some photographs by Nick Charles here - remember to enter your password - ask us if you need it as we don't send it out by the website!

Well done to Youth Voices  -  you are going from strength to strength!


 Chloe has set up an Instagram account for BJC & BYV photos. Follow the account, and see photos and videos from the concert here:



Just a snippet of @annaaaaa.xxo amazing chello playing??????

A post shared by Beckenham Junior Choir (@beckenhamjunior) on

Monday, 06 March 2017 17:28

One of Our Brothers is a Lion

We have some exciting news! 

BJC and BYV are about to sing in an opera entitled One of our Brothers is a Lion! that is being written especially for them.

Composer and former BJC pianist, James Olsen is writing an children’s opera for BJC/BYV to be premiered at our concert on Saturday 20th May. The story is based on the medieval legend(from the Legenda Aurae by Voragine) of Saint Jerome who removes a thorn from a lion’s paw; the lion becomes his companion and makes a home inthe monastery, only then to get into trouble when the brothers think he has eaten the monastery’s donkey…

And... we need your help to make this amazing opportunity for our children happen!

Fund raising

We need to raise a total of £5,500 to cover the opera commission and staging expenses. Although timescales are short, we believe that this is such an amazing opportunity that between us all we can do it! Thanks to the generosity of our friends and supporters, we have already exceeded our initial goal of raising  £2,000 by the end of February!

Please contact us if you would like to contribute, or if you have any fundraising ideas.

For more information, see the brochure containing all the information about the project.

Save the dates
  •  Saturday, May 20: first performance of the opera for BJC and BYV (please note that this is a new date for BYV).
  • Saturday, July 1: second performance in Broadstairs.


On Saturday 2nd July, the church of St. Michael and All Angels in Sydenham hosted Beckenham Junior Choir;the junior choir of St. John's East Dulwich; Beckenham Youth Voices and some choir parents - in a varied programme of singing and instrumentals. (The adults were quite well-behaved!)

This from John Webber:

DR-3"The concert in Lower Sydenham was a very exciting one, with SO MUCH to include, as we have an enormous number of talented people.  There was, as ever, a wide variety of songs.  As Elizabeth Beroud said at the end, 'we went all around the world: Africa, Ireland, the Caribbean, America, Germany and different parts of Britain…..and we covered music of many different centuries.'

This is the end of a term in which the Junior Choir has gained eight new members.  We look forward to a much needed holiday period and the chance to start back in September with the songs still ringing in our ears!

Best wishes for the Summer holidays ahead and new members are welcome to join us in September"

John Webber

 DR-397There are some photographs here by David Roxby - who kindly photographed the choirs and musicians and by Mary-Anne Fiorini

Our final BJC/YV meeting of the academic year will be this Wednesday, July 6th, when we meet for a picnic at Croydon Road Recreation ground (near the bandstand) from 6pm. Please bring food and a picnic blanket. If the weather looks bad I will send out an email late afternoon with possible alternative arrangements.

If you have not already handed in your named folder, please bring it on Wednesday and hand to John.

Also, if anyone has photos from Saturday's concert that they would be happy to share on our website (password protected) please let me know.

Choir resumes on Wednesday September 14th , 6.00pm for BJC and 7.20pm for BYV.
There will be details of autumn/winter concert dates shortly before the new term resumes.

BJC parents, if you have not already added your names to our Doodle rota for September, please do so ASAP. Let me know if you need the link again. I will be sending out the final dates next week.

Many thanks, and have a glorious summer.

BJC/YV Secretary

Oh, and one final request from John:

The St. John’s Junior Choir will sing a few pieces at their Church on Sunday next, July 10th. at 11.30a.m. Four will be absent, including the three most senior members…..BUT I can’t alter the date of the concert!  It would be terrific if a few of Beckenham Junior Choir would be willing to join them!   Please let me know: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 8650 9164.  I have attached song words: if you can practise the first three, from “Singing in the Rain”, it would be even better!  You just need to know v.2 of “Make ’em laugh”, the chorus of “Singing in the rain” and the second part of “You are my lucky star”.  (They will be on YouTube.)   It’s at St. John’s Church, Goose Green, East Dulwich, SE22 9AT




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Get in touch

We would love to hear from families who would like their children to join in the choirs and sing with a lively and non-competitive group of young people.
Contact us and arrange to come along there are no auditions, anyone aged 6 - 17 can join our choirs.

Tel: 0208 650 9164

Child Protection Policy

We in Beckenham Junior Choir are committed to a protection policy. Staff and volunteers in this organisation accept and recognise our responsibilities to develop awareness of the issues which cause children harm.

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Matchfunding for the choirs

BJC/BYV have an HMRC assimilated charitable status.
If you or a close relative, work for a company that offers matchfunding,
the choirs could benefit financially at no cost to yourself.
Please check this list of organisations to see the companies listed.