Lancing Pupil wins BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2017

In October 2017, Lancing pupil Raphael (Rafi) Bellamy Plaice was awarded BBC Radio 2 young Chorister of the Year 2017 (boys) at the competition held at the BBC Philharmonic Studios at MediaCityUK in Salford.

Currently in the Third Form at Lancing, Rafi was one of eight finalists who made it through two rigorous preliminary rounds, facing tough competition from other young and talented singers from around the country. In the final, Rafi sang the hymn Now the Green Blade Riseth, to the French carol tune Noël Nouvelet, and then But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming from Handel’s Messiah. After the winners were announced, Rafi sang a duet (with the Girl Chorister of the Year, Ischia Gooda), John Rutter’s I Will Sing with the Spirit.

The Young Chorister of the Year programme and Rafi’s winning performance can be heard on the BBC Radio 2 website HERE.

Rafi – a former Head Chorister at Chichester Cathedral – won a music scholarship and joined Lancing this September from The Prebendal School, Chichester. He is one of three siblings at Lancing and has well-known parents in the music world, Marcia Bellamy (opera singer) and Stephen Plaice (writer and playwright).

In addition to taking his place in the Lancing College Choir, where he regularly performs as a soloist, Rafi is a keen cricketer and Egyptologist.

Commenting on the award Dominic Oliver, Head Master said “All of us at Lancing are absolutely delighted that Rafi has been recognised in this way. A modest young man who loves to perform and does so with exquisite skill, I cannot think of a more deserving winner. Lancing has a fine tradition of outstanding musicianship, with pupils studying and performing at the very highest levels at the College and beyond.”

Neil Cox, Director of Music in Lancing College Chapel writes "This is absolutely wonderful news, and I am so pleased for Rafi. He is one of our leading choristers, and we are all benefitting from the tremendous training he had as Head Chorister of Chichester Cathedral before he joined us in September. In the past Lancing, has produced two BBC Young Composers and now has its second BBC Young Chorister! 

Rafi has a busy term ahead as he leads the Choir into one of its most joyous seasons, when hundreds of people attend the annual Carol services in the great College Chapel. We are all thrilled by his achievement and send him our warmest congratulations!"


Lancing is recognised as a leading music school in the South East and has previously helped to support and encourage the music careers of other successful musicians:

  • James Chan (2016 leaver) won the BBC Inspire Young Composers’ Award in 2016 and is currently studying at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. James recently had the première of his BBC commission Speaking performed at Wellcome Collection and broadcast on BBC Radio 3
  • Rosanna Wicks (2017 Leaver) won The Mimi Scharrer Memorial Prize for Voice (for the highest mark at Grades 6, 7 or 8 in the previous twelve months in the Brighton, or Worthing areas). Rosanna also made her Wigmore Hall solo debut in March this year, singing in the same concert alongside professional singers and instrumentalists from The Theatre of The Ayre under the internationally renowned lutenist, Elizabeth Kenny
  • Current pupil Seung-Youn H has won The Amina Lucchesi Memorial Prize for Violin or Viola (for the highest mark at Grades 6, 7 or 8 in the previous twelve months in the Brighton, Haywards Heath or Worthing areas)
  • Ella Taylor (2012 leaver) won BBC Chorister of the Year in 2010. She is currently studying for a Masters in Performance at the Royal Academy of Music under the tuition of Elizabeth Ritchie and Andrew Smith, having graduated from the University of Sheffield with a First Class Honours Degree in Music
  • In any year, a group of 20-30 Music Scholars and Award holders strengthen and support the work of this most diverse of Music Schools
  • The 250-300 instrumental, singing, composition and theory lessons that take place each week, with visiting and resident tutors, provide the bedrock of Lancing’s work with many of the talented young musicians – that, and the ever-so-slightly eccentric and relaxed environment that is Lancing College Music School.