Ex-Cantamus singer leads her own choir in BBC TV contest

JO WILLIAMSON -- inspired by the late Pamela Cook, of Cantamus fame.
JO WILLIAMSON -- inspired by the late Pamela Cook, of Cantamus fame.

A singer who hails from Sutton has led her choir to the final stages of a prestigious competition run by BBC TV.

Jo Williamson (55) was an early member of the world-renowned Cantamus Girls’ Choir, of Mansfield, and a singing student of its highly respected tutor Pamela Cook, who died two years ago.

Now her musical career has turned full circle because Jo is in charge of her own choir in Herefordshire, where she lives, and has steered them into the semi-finals of the BBC ‘Songs Of Praise’ School Choir Of The Year contest.

The Cantabile Girls’ Choir, who are based at Hereford Cathedral School where Jo teaches singing, are hoping to go one better than last year when they reached the final. And success would be extra special for Jo because the competition is being held at the Albert Hall in Nottingham, where she performed her first professional concert back in the 1970s. “I can think of no better venue,” she says.

The semis will be aired on the ‘Songs Of Praise’ programme scheduled for Sunday 3rd May. The two pieces Cantabile are singing have been arranged by local composer Michael Neaum, who also taught Jo in her early years.

But it will be Pamela she remembers most if the choir she founded in 2008 are successful. “Pamela inspires me every time I work with Cantabile,” adds Jo. “To win would be a very satisfying achievement.”