Get a personalised letter from Santa

Beckenham young people perform children’s opera for first time

PUBLISHED: 10:36 30 May 2017

One of the choirs performing

One of the choirs performing


The performed the work about Saint Jerome who removed a thorn from a lion’s paw

Around 40 yound people from Beckenham participated in the first performance of a children’s opera written.

On May 20, the Beckenham Junior Choir and Beckenham Youth Voices performed the work titled One of Our Brothers is a Lion, by young british composer James Olsen, at the Beckenham Methodist Church to an audience of over 200 people.

Musical director and founder of the choirs, John Webber, said: “I am immensley proud of what the young singers have achieved in a very short space of time. They have all worked very hard and they really enjoyed singing the music composed by James.

“Perhaps, as importantly, the opera has galvanised the whole choir community with parents helping in every respect, from the fundraising, to the making of masks, props and costumes, and stage design.”

Jenny Fraser, mother of 11-year-old twins Ella and Olivia who performed in the opera, said: “This has been such an inspiiting project for my girls and for all the children involved. They have learned a lot whilst having fun as well, and also gained considerably in self-confidence.”

James’ opera, commissioned by the choirs and funded by private patrons, including local businesses, tells the story of Saint Jerome and the lion, as recounted in the Golden Legend. Saint Jerome is said to have removed a thorn from a lion’s paw. After the thorn was removed, the lion joins the monastery, and is even given a job by the saint. Man and beast live in harmony until, one day, the monastery’s donkey goes missing and the brothers blame the lion.

James, who grew up in Beckenham and attended Balgowan, and St Olave’s schools, was the first assistant director of the Beckenham Junior Choir as a teenager in the 90s.

He said: “My experiences with the BJC fostered in me a love for making music with young people and amateurs which is still very much part of why I’m a composer today. There’s a special British tradition of composers writing for communities, following Benjamin Britten, of which I’m proud to be a part. “It’s a great privilege to have composed for the Beckenham choirs again, and I hope that my retelling of this extraordinary medieval story, which is both touching and hilarious, will have been a memorable experience for all involved.”

Latest entertainment

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A man from Bexleyheath has just published his first book, Kent-based novel Smile Of The Stowaway.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Audiences shall go to the ball this Christmas as Cinderella comes to the Churchill Theatre for this year’s pantomime.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Now back from recording the second series of All Together Now, Brit School teacher and Bromley local Georg Tormann is now warming up for Christmas with his Beckenham-based choir.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Former Coronation Street favourite Kevin Kennedy (who played Curly Watts) takes to the stage in musical comedy Rock of Ages.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Scenes from the hard-hitting new BBC drama Informer were filmed in Bromley and Bexley.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Following the incredible sell-out stage success of Not Dead Enough, The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple, the number one best-selling author Peter James is back with a spine-tingling new world premiere play, The House On Cold Hill, coming to the Orchard Theatre in January.

Friday, October 12, 2018

The new UK and Ireland tour of Let It Be will be arriving at the Orchard Theatre on Monday, October 15.

Friday, August 31, 2018

The Sensational 60s Experience will soon be returning to Bromley for on night only.

Most read news

Digital Edition

Read the Bexley Times e-edition today

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24