The Snowman

BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year & Glyndebourne Youth Opera singer to perform Walking in the Air

Christmas, News

Two local singers have been selected to sing classic Christmas song Walking in the Air with the Southbank Sinfonia in a special event which brings together two seasonal favourites (The Snowman and The Nutcracker) on Sat 16 Dec.

13-year-old Raphael ‘Rafi’ Bellamy Plaice recently won the boys’ section of the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition and has sung at Chichester Cathedral for six years. This year he was awarded a music scholarship to Lancing College where he plays violin and piano and also sings in the choir.

Rafi says: 'I'm really looking forward to singing such an iconic movie score. It'll be an amazing experience, and I only have to walk down the hill from my house to get there.'

Francesca Seaborne, 18, is currently a member of Glyndebourne Youth Opera, which she joined in 2014. She has taken part in three major productions at Glyndebourne: Dido & Aeneas, Nothing and Belongings. Francesca also studies in the 6th form at Roedean School studying music, art, philosophy and ethics and she attends the Guildhall School of Music & Drama to study vocals.

Francesca says: ‘I am extremely excited at the prospect of performing such a well-known piece at such an iconic venue and feel very privileged to be accompanied by a full professional orchestra’

Francesca and Rafi will each take turns to sing the much-loved Christmas song to accompany a special live screening of The Snowman at Brighton Dome, accompanied by the Southbank Sinfonia (Francesca will sing in the 3.45pm show and Rafi will sing at 6pm). The setting of the film is local to Brighton: the Royal Pavilion and the Palace Pier can clearly be seen in the flying scene. In an extra festive twist, the screening will be preceded with a special narration of The Nutcracker read by CBeebies’ own Pui Fan Lee, accompanied by beautiful, newly created illustrations.

Now in its 15th year, the Southbank Sinfonia is a young, dynamic ensemble with a growing international reputation. The Independent described it as "a hugely talented young ensemble whose performances are always theatrical". As they perform a suite from Tchaikovsky's evergreen ballet, the story will be brought to life with Pui Fan Lee narrating from a new script. To complement the narration, a set of beautiful illustrations will be shown on screen. Created by Emily Carew Woodard, her distinctive style and affinity for fables and stories made her a perfect partner for this project.

Conductor Ben Palmer comments: ‘There's something magical about playing to an audience of families and young people, many of whom are having their first experience of live orchestral music. That said, it's always the adults in tears when the snowman melts at the end of the film! The orchestra and I are really looking forward to bringing the show to Brighton Dome, and to be performing these two wonderful pieces for you.’

And Pui Fan Lee adds: ‘I am absolutely thrilled to be taking part in this fabulous family concert. The Nutcracker and The Snowman are both magical stories full of surprises and wondrous imagination! I hope everyone will enjoy the magnificent Orchestra bringing these classic tales to life!’

The Nutcracker Suite and The Snowman (With Live Orchestra), Concert Hall, Sat 16 Dec