Sunday 17 November 2019

‘Expect the unexpected’ - Dublin student in running for €50,000 prize with choir in Pitch Battle final tonight

Ben Middleton (right) singing on Pitch Battle
Ben Middleton (right) singing on Pitch Battle

Sorcha O’Connor

A Dublin student will take the stage for the final of BBC One’s Pitch Battle tonight, when the winning choir will walk off with more than €50,000.

Killester boy Ben Middleton is a member of school choir Tring Park 16, who last week beat off Irish all-male group The Ramparts to secure a place in the last round of the show, whose head judge is celebrity choirmaster Gareth Malone.

The Killester singer, who has always had a love for musical theatre, is a pupil at one of Britain’s most prestigious performing arts schools, Tring Park, in Hertfordshire.

It has been a gruelling week of daily rehearsals for the choir, but star performer Ben (17) told the Herald he was looking forward to tonight.

“I’m very nervous, but everyone is agreed we’re all in this together,” he said. “Tring Park is like a family. I’m really excited. I can’t wait to show everyone what we’ve got.”

Ben would not reveal which songs the choir will perform, but he did say that viewers should “expect the unexpected”.

“People can look forward to some surprises from some of our soloists,” he said.

Ben is no stranger to theatre, having spent his final year of primary school travelling back and forth from Ireland to perform in the UK in the musical Matilda.

Completing first year of secondary school in Ireland, he then made the move to the Sylvia Young Theatre School before securing a scholarship in September to Tring Park.

At Tring he is following in the footsteps of actress Daisy Ridley of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Disney’s Cinderella Lily James and award-winning director and choreographer Drew McOnie.

Now heading into his final year of secondary, Ben has ambitions of stardom in London’s West End or on Broadway.

Tring Park 16 were crowned BBC Choir of the Year last year.

When Ben auditioned for the choir in September, he never dreamt it would lead to performing on prime time TV.

Other Pitch Battle finalists include Leeds Contemporary Singers, Scot Soul, All The King’s Men and Portsmouth University Gospel Choir.

Pitch Battle is on BBC One tonight at 7.25pm.

Herald

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