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09 June 2015

City’s young singers come together for Gala Concert for the Grand Appeal

More than 250 of the best young voices in Bristol, and one of the world's leading conductors, are coming together for a special gala concert in aid of the Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital charity.

For one night only, the City of Bristol Choir will be joined by Exultate Singers, Bristol Youth Choir and choristers from Westbury-on-Trym Parish Church for a special performance conducted by world-famous composer John Rutter CBE, and City of Bristol Choir's Musical Director David Ogden.

Mr Rutter is a patron of the choir, and will conduct the singers' performance of his well-known Mass of the Children as part of a musical programme that "celebrates childhood".

The choir will also perform Jonathan Dove's cantata, There Was A Child, and Handel's classic Zadok the Priest, which was recently listed as one of the BBC's "Ten Pieces" to engage children with classical music.

The concert will take place on Saturday 20 June at Colston Hall in support of The Grand Appeal.

David Ogden, musical director, City of Bristol Choir, said, "The gala concert is sure to be a fantastic evening. The fact that such an esteemed composer as John Rutter is attending to conduct the choirs in person is a real testament to the talent that we have here in Bristol!

"With over 250 singers set to perform on the night, we thought it was a great opportunity to try and raise as much money as we can to support the Grand Appeal, the Bristol Children's Hospital charity, which does such fantastic work for babies and children from all over Bristol and beyond."

This very special evening will be particularly meaningful to Aedan Bailey, 10, from Brentry, one of Bristol Youth Choir's youngest members. Aedan was rushed into Bristol Children's Hospital at just five weeks old, and was diagnosed with three different heart defects: a very rare, and very serious, combination.

Aedan underwent surgery for all three conditions over a three-week period in July 2004, remaining in intensive care for eight days. His treatment was a complete success, and Aedan was able to go home just a few weeks later.

Aedan's story was featured in The Bristol Post as a baby, with a special article published to mark his first birthday.

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Now a happy and healthy ten-year-old, Aedan visits the hospital for annual check-ups but is not on any regular medication. He lives a very active life, playing football and basketball, but his real passion is singing.

Aedan's mum, Elaine Bailey, said, "Aedan joined Bristol Youth Choir three years ago and it is very special to him. He loves to perform and to be part of something that does so much for the local community.

"The treatment and care that Aedan received at Bristol Children's Hospital was incredible, and we were delighted to hear that the gala concert would be in support of the Grand Appeal. To be told your newborn baby is very poorly and has to undergo such major surgery at such a young age is a very scary experience, but the team that looked after Aedan were fantastic and helped us all through a difficult time. We hope that the money raised by the concert will help the hospital continue to provide such brilliant care to the babies and children that need it."

Proceeds from the concert will go towards supporting music therapy at Bristol Children's Hospital, one of the key services that the Grand Appeal helps the hospital to provide.

The hospital currently works with two qualified music therapists, who hold one-to-one and group sessions with young patients while they are in hospital. The sessions are a valuable outlet for children, offering emotional support as well as an opportunity to relax, be creative and express themselves.

David Ogden continued, "We all know the impact that music can have on our lives: it can lift our spirits and change our mood completely. When the City of Bristol Choir discovered that it takes more than £40,000 each year to fund music therapy at the Children's Hospital, we decided that a concert with children, about children, and for children was the best way to help the Grand Appeal fund that service. We hope that many people are able to join us to be a part of it."

Nicola Masters, director of The Grand Appeal, said, "Music therapy is a key part of the services we help the hospital to provide, and the sessions have a real impact on the patients undergoing treatment. We are delighted that the choir has chosen to support us through this very special concert, a truly fitting way to help us keep this vital service running."

The Gala Concert takes place during the first ever Sounds Inspiring Children's Music Festival, a series of massed singing sessions, workshops and concerts involving thousands of young people across Bristol.

For tickets, call the City of Bristol Choir Ticket Hotline on 01454 778477, or visit<> or<>. There is no booking fee for purchases made via the City of Bristol Choir website.