Young musicians hit the high notes

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JUDGES had their work cut out as Wigan’s Young Musician of the Year competition hit new highs.

Standish Parish Church rang to the sound of beautiful singing and a whole range of wonderfully-played instruments in this the now annual chance for talented young performers to shine.

Vocalist Amy Kearsley, 15

Vocalist Amy Kearsley, 15

And while the adjudicators said that the uniformly-high standards made their task very difficult, they did come up with winners in all three categories.

Victor in the advanced class was 16-year-old tenor Tom Loughlin from Garswood. The son of former St Helens rugby star Paul Loughlin, Tom wowed the audience and panel with a moving performance of di Capua’s famous aria O Sole Mio.

The intermediate class was clinched by Tyldesley cornet player Simran Prakash and the entry level prize secured by young pianist Emma Guenther.

Dave Little, Wigan Council’s music service head, said: “The emphasis of this event is to provide a platform, for those young musicians who wish, to perform as soloists in a formal atmosphere.

“Whilst there can only be one winner in each category, all performers receive certification and useful adjudicator feedback. The educational value of the event is the most important aspect of it as far as we are concerned.

“And the adjudicators said they were very impressed by the general standard of performance. We will be looking forward to continuing the competition next year.”

The independent adjudicators for the final were: Richard Milton, head of Salford Music and Performing Arts Service, and Halle Orchestra violinist Sarah Ewins.

The Mayor Coun Billy Rotherham was the VIP guest for the evening and presented the prizes.

The winners each received shields, vouchers from sponsors Symphony Music in Wigan town centre and certificates. The event was also sponsored by music-lovers John and Barbara O’Neill from Shevington.

Tom picked up £150 worth of vouchers to pay for music lessons with a teacher of his choice.

The competition initially attracted 60 young entrants and these were whittled down to six per category by a day of heats at Hindley performing arts centre last month.