UCLan composer shortlisted for national BBC carol competition

16 December 2014

Lyndsey Boardman

UCLan lecturer makes final six in BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Christmas Carol Competition.

A composition written by a University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) lecturer has been shortlisted for a national carol competition run by BBC Radio 3.

Mark Goggins, Music Theatre course leader and director of the award-winning UCLan Chamber Choir, has made the final six out of thousands of entrants from across the country in the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Christmas Carol Competition 2014.

The station invited composers to craft a choral piece using text specially written for the competition by writer and poet Susan Hill called Can it be True? The winning entry will be played throughout Christmas Day.

Mark’s piece will be performed, alongside the other five shortlisted pieces, on the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast show by the BBC Singers today, Tuesday 16 December. The BBC Singers will perform all six pieces again in a live Radio 3 broadcast in the afternoon of Wednesday 17 December and then at various times until Monday 22 December to allow listeners to vote online for their favourite piece. The winner will be announced on Tuesday 23 December.

Mark commented:

“I came across the competition online and saw that the shortlisted pieces would be performed by the BBC Singers, literally one of the best choirs in the world. That was enough motivation for me to compose a setting of Susan Hill’s poem and submit it."

UCLan Choir and Mark Goggins

“The BBC Singers were involved in the 2010 Choir of the Year competition when the UCLan Chamber Choir won the Adult Category. David Hill, their director, ran a series of workshops with them, and they also sang on the evening that UCLan Chamber Choir sang in the Grand Final at the Royal Festival Hall. To now have the opportunity of the BBC Singers performing my music is really extremely thrilling.”

The six carols have been shortlisted by a prestigious panel including the Master of the Queen’s Music and Associate Composer with the BBC Singers, Judith Weir and the Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, David Hill. From today BBC Radio 3 listeners can vote for their favourite entry online on the BBC Radio 3 website.

For more information follow the hashtag #BBCCarolComp on Twitter or visit the BBC Radio 3 website.

Mark has worked in music theatre as a performer, director, musical director, composer and arranger, vocal coach and keyboard player. He led the development of the Music Theatre programme at UCLan since it began in 2003 and is the Director of the UCLan Chamber Choir, leading it to success in 2010 when the choir won the 2010 BBC Adult Choir of the Year award. 

CAN IT BE TRUE? By Susan Hill

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Twelve of the clock

Twelve of the clock.

The message was heard

On the wind, underground.

Through wires, in dreams

Heard by the fox slinking up to the hens

In the dark

And the wolf prowling near to the sheep,

By the dog as it snarled at

The cat as it sniffed for the mouse

In a hole in the wall of the house.

Heard by the owl with blood on its beak

And the shrew in the ditch.

Heard by the weasel, the ferret, the stoat,

The terrified rabbit

And the whale and the whaler above in his boat.

Christmas Eve

And twelve chimed the clock when the message was heard.

‘And can it be true?’

Said the fox to the hen to the wolf to the sheep to the dog to the cat to the mouse to the owl to the shrew.

‘And can it be true?’

They said to the weasel and ferret and stoat

And the whale to the man in his boat.

‘And can it be true?’

‘Come and see for yourself.’

So they went.

The fox with the hen with the wolf with the sheep with the dog with the cat with the mouse with the owl with the weasel and ferret and stoat.

And the whale towed the boat.

Christmas Eve

Twelve of the clock

When they came to the stable and saw.

‘It is true! It is true!’

And knelt down