Rafi is the BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2017. He won the title in the final of this year’s competition which was held in late October at the Philharmonic Studios in MediaCityUK in Salford.
Formerly Head Chorister of Chichester Cathedral Choir, and now Music Scholar at Lancing College, Rafi is enjoying a busy year singing up and down the country.
Rafi’s debut album Refiner’s Fire is now released and available to buy in digital or CD formats.
As well as many of Rafi’s signature pieces, the album includes memorable duets with Ischia Gooda from their year as BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers. For the first time you can hear thrilling new recordings from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with countertenor Chris Pilgrim.
Alongside popular classics The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Vow To Thee My Country, and Linden Lea, here too is Rafi in full flow with the Chichester Cathedral Choir singing the Andrews Magnificat in D, and a full version of his spectacular rendition of Handel’s Refiner’s Fire, the piece which won him his title.
Listen to samples from the new album below and purchase your copy through Rafi’s Bandcamp page (the link will open in a new tab).
- Refiner's Fire Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:51
- The Lord Is My Shepherd Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:48
- I Vow To Thee My Country Rafi Bellamy Plaice 1:05
- Linden Lea Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:51
- Magnificat in D Rafi Bellamy Plaice 0:51
- Rafi’s voice will be soaring high over Brighton in September when he is the soloist for a midair mass celebrated with the Wagner Group of Churches on the British Airways i360.
- Rafi and Ischia were invited to perform two hymns for BBC1’s Songs of Praise – Be Thou My Guardian and The Lord is My Shepherd (Goodall). These were recorded in York in early July for broadcast later in the summer.
- Following his appearance at the launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s autobiography in March, Rafi was asked in June to sing at the musical celebration for Andrew’s birthday, live at the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Together with American soprano, Megan Picerno, he sang Andrew’s Pie Jesu, accompanied by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra.
- Rafi is thrilled to have been cast by Seattle Opera in the role of Miles in their forthcoming production of Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of The Screw. The première will be on 13th October 2018. This will be Rafi’s stage debut in the USA, and he will sing three further performances in the role, on 17th, 24th and 27th October.
- The prestigious Tanglewood Festival in Massachusetts invited Rafi to be the treble soloist for Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, as part of the composer’s centenary celebrations. The performance took place on Sunday July 15th 2018, with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Andris Nelsons. Chichester Psalms was commissioned from Bernstein by Chichester Cathedral for the Southern Cathedral’s Festival in 1965. So it’s very appropriate that Rafi was chosen for this great honour.
- The BBC have broadcast two services from Lancing College Chapel, featuring Rafi’s current choir, The Lancing College Chapel Choir, under the direction of Neil Cox. On Saturday April 28th the choir recorded Evensong at 1.30pm for later broadcast on Radio 3. The following morning, Sunday Worship was broadcast live on Radio 4 from the Chapel, beginning at 7.45am.
- Rafi was invited to perform at the London launch of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s autobiography Unmasked at the New London Theatre in March. He sang ‘Pie Jesu’ with the Australian soprano Anna O’Byrne, best known for her role as Christine in The Phantom of the Opera and currently starring in The Woman in White at the Charing Cross Theatre.
- The BBC website contains a link to the duet that Rafi sang with Ischia Gooda, Young Girl Chorister of the Year, at the conclusion of the final of BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year 2017, John Rutter’s ‘I Will Sing With the Spirit’.
- With the Southbank Sinfonia, Rafi sang ‘Walking in the Air’ in a special showing, with live soundtrack, of Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Brighton Dome on Saturday December 16th.
- Rafi and Ischia recorded Christmas Carols for the BBC at Broadcasting House in late November. This series of duets was broadcast on Radio 2 on The Sunday Hour on Christmas Eve, and Good Morning Christmas on Christmas Day, both hosted by the Rev Kate Bottley, then on Radio 4’s The Daily Service during Christmas week
- Just before Christmas Rafi was broadcast live on BBC South Today from Chichester Cathedral, back in his old colours in the choir stalls. You can see the footage here.
November 12th • ‘Pie Jesu’ solo for Lancing College Remembrance Day Service
November 28th • Recording of carol duets for The Daily Service at Broadcasting House
December 5th • Institute of Cancer Research at the Chapel of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea Carol Concert, 6.30pm
December 8th and 11th • Festival of Lessons and Carols, Lancing College
December 16th • The Snowman, Festive showing of the film to live soundtrack with Southbank Sinfonia at the Brighton Dome, 6pm
December 20th • CBBC Hacker’s Christmas Special, MediaCityUK, live broadcast on CBBC from 3.30pm
December 22nd • BBC South Today live broadcast from Chichester Cathedral 6.30pm
December 24th • Midnight Mass The Church of the Annunciation Brighton (‘Once in Royal David’s City’ solo)
December 25th • Christmas Day Eucharist The Church of the Annunciation (‘Walking in the Air’ solo)
February 6th • Live recording of At the Foot of the Cross for BBC Radio 2, Maida Vale Studios 7pm
February 24th • Recording of duets with Ischia Gooda under the direction of Richard Tanner and Simon Lole at Rugby School
March 13th • ‘Pie Jesu’ as part of Unmasked : Andrew Lloyd Webber in Conversation with Graham Norton, New London Theatre 7.30pm
March 30th • Broadcast of At the Foot of the Cross BBC Radio 2 8pm
April 8th • Appearance with Ischia Gooda on Good Morning Sunday BBC Radio 2 6-9am
April 28th • Recording of Evensong for BBC Radio 3, Lancing Chapel
April 29th • Sunday Worship, live broadcast from Lancing Chapel BBC Radio 4 8.10 am
May 7th • Recording with countertenor Christopher Pilgrim and organist Charles Harrison at Chichester Cathedral
May 9th • Broadcast of BBC recording of Choral Evensong from Lancing College BBC Radio 3 3.30pm
May 13th • Repeat broadcast of Choral Evensong from Lancing College BBC Radio 3 3.00pm
May 19th • Recording with Ischia Gooda and Richard Tanner at Rugby School
June 17th • Live at Chelsea / Andrew Lloyd Webber – A Musical Celebration, Chelsea Hospital 7.30pm
July 6th • Chichester Chorale’s Festival of Chichester concert, Boxgrove Priory 7.30pm – Mendelssohn’s ‘Hear My Prayer’ and Franck’s ‘Panis Angelicus’
July 7th • Recording session for Songs of Praise with Ischia Gooda in York
July 14th • Online launch of Rafi’s debut album Refiner’s Fire.
July 14th • Public Rehearsal of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with Boston Symphony Orchestra, cond. Andris Nelsons, Tanglewood, MA
July 15th • Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Tanglewood Festival, Massachusetts
September 8th • Rafi is the soloist on the British Airways i360
October 13th • The Turn of the Screw, Seattle Opera (première)
October 17th • The Turn of the Screw, Seattle Opera
October 24th • The Turn of the Screw, Seattle Opera
October 27th • The Turn of the Screw, Seattle Opera
Rafi was a chorister at Chichester Cathedral for six years, from 2011-2017, becoming Head Chorister in his final year. During his first three years in the choir he worked under the direction of Sarah Baldock, and then in his last three under Charles Harrison.
As a chorister he toured to Germany, France and the Netherlands. He was also featured as a soloist as Young Nicholas in Britten’s St Nicholas (Petersfield Music Festival and Southern Cathedrals Festival) and in the role of the Boy in Mendelssohn’s Elijah for the Fernhurst Choral Society. As a pupil at the Prebendal School, he sang the title roles of Robin Hood and Oliver.
Rafi is now in his first year as a music scholar at Lancing College, where he sings in the choir under the direction of Neil Cox, balancing his school commitments with his busy schedule as BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year.
Rafi’s favourite composers are Mozart, Purcell and Gibbons. His other passions besides music are Lego, Egyptology and the works of JRR Tolkien.
Tanglewood Festival, Mass., 2018 : Chichester Psalms
“Singing Chichester Psalms well is yeoman’s work, and the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, prepared by James Burton, was up to the task, singing the grinding dissonances of the opening with strength and precision. Elsewhere, the singers found an apt melting lyricism. The men of the choir sang the “Adonai, Adonai” of Psalm 131 with buttery tone, and the concluding verse from Psalm 133 floated in the air like quiet prayer.
A few tentative attacks apart, the eight soloists, drawn from the TFC ranks, sang their brief solo sections with zeal. But the star of the afternoon was Rafi Bellamy Plaice, a boy soprano with a pristine voice. Singing with both innocence and radiance, Plaice lofted a warm-hearted “Adonai ro-i, lo ehsar.” Nelsons’ sensitive accompaniment wrapping the singer in a velvety blanket of sound.”
Boston Classical Review, July 16, 2018
“Bernstein’s piece, which premièred in 1965, is a beguilingly composite work…(with) an extended lilting solo for boy soprano, delivered on Sunday by Rafi Bellamy Plaice with striking poise and tonal purity.”
Boston Globe, July 17, 2018
Chichester Chorale: “O for the Wings of a Dove”, Boxgrove Priory
“The performance opened with the Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year, and former Head Chorister of Chichester Cathedral, Rafi Bellamy Plaice, singing “Hear my Prayer” by Mendlessohn. His voice is quite exquisite representing the best of English cathedral singing, and has both height and depth to it. He was then joined by the distingushed and much sought after tenor, Tom Robson, in a duet of Franck’s well known Panis Angelicus, which had a beautifully played and understated accompaniment by the Wessex Baroque strings – superb throughout – that was arranged by the Chorale’s conductor Arthur Robson. The two sang sensitively and joyously together.”
Music in Portsmouth, July 13,2018
Raymond Brigg’s The Snowman at the Brighton Dome
“The show’s highlight was Raphael Bellamy Plaice’s flawless performance of ‘Walking in the Air’. The uplifting music complemented his soaring voice. We were captivated throughout this enchanting performance.”
The Latest, Brighton, December 2017
To talk to us about booking Rafi for an appearance, please email email@example.com and we will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. You can also book Rafi and Ischia through this website using the same email address.