TWO Sussex teenagers have been selected to sing classic Christmas song Walking in the Air with the Southbank Sinfonia for a special event at the Brighton Dome.

Raphael Bellamy Plaice, 13, known as Rafi, and Francesca Seaborne, 18, will take turns to sing during screenings on December 16 of seasonal favourite The Snowman, where the setting of the film is local to Brighton, the Royal Pavilion and the Palace Pier clearly seen in the flying scene.

The screening will be preceded with a special narration of The Nutcracker read by CBeebies favourite Pui Fan Lee, accompanied by newly created illustrations by Emily Carew Woodard

Rafi recently won the boys’ section of the BBC Radio 2 Young Choristers of the Year competition and has sung at Chichester Cathedral for six years. This year, he was awarded a music scholarship to Lancing College where he plays violin and piano and also sings in the choir.

He says: ”I’m really looking forward to singing such an iconic movie score. It’ll be an amazing experience, and I only have to walk down the hill from my house to get there.”

Francesca is currently a member of Glyndebourne Youth Opera, which she joined in 2014. She has taken part in three major productions at Glyndebourne: Dido & Aeneas, Nothing and Belongings. Francesca also studies in the sixth form at Roedean School in Brighton, studying music, art, philosophy and ethics, and attends the Guildhall School of Music & Drama where she studies vocals.

“I am extremely excited at the prospect of performing such a well-known piece at such an iconic venue and feel very privileged to be accompanied by a full professional orchestra,” she says.

Now in its 15th year, the Southbank Sinfonia is a young, dynamic ensemble with a growing international reputation. Conductor Ben Palmer says, “There’s something magical about playing to an audience of families and young people, many of whom are having their first experience of live orchestral music. That said, it’s always the adults in tears when the snowman melts at the end of the film! The orchestra and I are really looking forward to bringing the show to Brighton Dome, and to be performing these two wonderful pieces.”

Pui Fan Lee adds, “The Nutcracker and The Snowman are both magical stories full of surprises and wondrous imagination. I hope everyone will enjoy the magnificent orchestra bringing these classic tales to life.”

The Nutcracker Suite and The Snowman (With Live Orchestra) are at the Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton, at 3.45pm (relaxed performance with no interval) and 6pm on Saturday December 16. Tickets £10-£18.50/u16s £10. Phone 01273 709709 or visit

Above: Francesca Seaborne
Main picture, top: Rafi Bellamy Plaice
Below: The Snowman
Bottom: Pui Fan Lee