Already Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year, Anderson High School pupil Chapman Cheng added the Young Musician of the Year title to an impressive list of achievements on the penultimate night of the 2010 Schools Music Festival on Wednesday.
Much to her surprise, Junior Young Musician of the Year was pianist Nicola Morrison from Whiteness Primary School. She said afterwards that hearing her name being announced had come as a bit of a shock: “At first I never knew it was actually real, I went a bit woozy and stepped forward and said, ‘Oh my god!’”
The 11-year-old said she “practised every day to try and get it perfect”, which has obviously paid off.
Chapman said it felt “great” to have won and he had really enjoyed playing his pieces: “I didn’t really expect to win it. The Grieg [piece] is enormous fun to play; you get all these low moments when you just have a long bow, that’s fun.”
Two special cups were also awarded on the night. The Festival Cup for outstanding individual or group went to Fraser Tait from Sandwick Junior High school, and the Schools Shield went to Dunrossness Primary School.
Adjudicated by educator and acclaimed musician, the entertaining Eric Tebbet, the night was a display of some of the finest young musical talent the isles has to offer.
The competition began with the junior section and the unenviable task of opening the night went to Bell’s Brae pupil Joe Smith, whose trombone playing showed real talent.
Next up was eventual winner Nicola. She played two piano pieces, Scherzo in E Minor, which demonstrated her confident and considered playing and faultless timing and Sea Pink, which was again beautifully played. With a beaming smile and bow she left the stage, to be followed by Rebecca Millar.
The diminutive Sandwick Junior High school pupil took to the stage smiling, and though she may be small, her clear voice soon filled the hall as she sang a dialect song written by her grandfather, Eddie Barclay, What Does Shetland Mean To Me?, followed by the traditional tune The Unst Boat Song.
She was followed by another Sandwick Junior High school pupil, Pryde McGinlay. Although dwarfed by the cello she gave a confident performance throughout her two pieces.
The fifth act was piano student Amy Laurenson, whose nimble fingers made light work of her piano pieces.
The final performer in the junior section was another singer, Bell’s Brae pupil Lauren Boyle, who sang the musical piece My Favourite Things from The Sound of Music with real conviction, followed by another dialect tune.
Before announcing the junior winner, Mr Tebbet commended all the pupils, saying it was an “absolute pleasure” to be at the event again and commented that it is “amazing what you manage to do in Shetland”.
After a short break the senior section began with Hannah Adamson, from Sandwick Junior High School. She played two violin pieces with confident, fluid bowing and precise intonation.
She was followed by Brae High School pupil Loris Macdonald, who played two mesmerising piano pieces with seemingly faultless timing, and talented Anderson High pupil Megan Govier, on the trumpet.
Norman Wilmore came to the floor next and transported the audience from the Town Hall to a sultry jazz bar with his soulful rendition of the jazz ballad My Ship, written by Ira Gershwin and made famous by Miles Davis.
Vocalist Mairi Coutts, from the Anderson High School, managed to be both elegant and sassy in her confident performance of a classical aria, followed by the gutsy Don’t Tell Mama from the musical Cabaret.
She was followed by fellow Anderson High Kirsten Hendry on fiddle, who treated the audience first to a set of Tom Anderson tunes, followed by a Canadian set from that country’s Grand Masters, which displayed her unbelievable timing and obvious, seemingly effortless, natural talent.
Andrea Gordon from Sandwick Junior High was next. Her two clarinet pieces were clearly and elegantly played, as was the music of talented Miriam Veenhuizen, from Aith Junior High, who played a Sonata in A minor followed by the Mexican Hat Dance on recorder.
Violinist Chapman then played two beautiful pieces, Meditation by Massenet and Grieg’s Violin and Piano Sonata in G Major, before the evening was brought to a close with saxophonist Scott Leask’s classical piece followed by a bluesy rendition of a tune fittingly entitled Finale.
Before announcing the Senior Young Musician of the Year, Mr Tebbet assured the participants and audience that it was “not easy to pick between the performances” but he had chosen the winner down to their commitment, conviction, consistency and passion.