Shetland’s Senior Young Musician of the Year is 14-year-old descant recorder player Miriam Veenhuizen.
A regular face in the young musician competition, she played two pieces: Sammartini’s 2nd Movement of Concerto for Descant Recorder and Top Hat Quadrille by Alan Bulard on Wednesday evening at the Town Hall.
Playing last on the senior’s list, her confident and smiley performance made the music seem a breeze to play and, following a short run through of the night’s performance’s by adjudicator Val Brodie, a visibly surprised looking Miriam was pronounced the winner.
Asked whether she had any expectation of winning, she said: “No … No I thought someone else would win, definitely!”
The Aith Junior High School pupil, who has been playing the recorder for five years, said she was a bit nervous playing but had enjoyed it nevertheless.
Winner of the junior section was 11-year-old Amy Laurenson, from Sound Primary School, for her bassoon playing.
Though she had also played a foot stomping, funky piano piece on the night, it was her fluid and confident playing of Ragoon and Mozart’s The Birdcatcher’s Song on bassoon that won her the title of junior young musician of the year.
Amy said: “I’m just astonished, I never expected to win!”
Amy said she had put in plenty of practice which had obviously paid off, and while she’d had some nerves she managed to enjoy the experience.
She said: “I was nervous to being with but when I got up there I just had fun.”
During a night of outstanding musical talent, which compere for the evening and festival co-ordinator Davie Gardner described as the pinnacle of the schools music festival, there were nine entries in the junior section and seven in the senior, each performer displaying a standard of musical skill and accomplishment beyond their years.
Some of the highlights from the junior section included sensitive and considered piano playing from Freya Murphy of Sound Primary School and Jack Tait from Tingwall Primary, and a sweet performance of clarinet from Cunningsburgh Primary school’s Kyle Brooke-Freeman.
Meanwhile in the senior section, Anderson High School’s Matthew Scollay’s amazing display of timing and speed on the accordion was impressive, and Andrea Gordon of Sandwick Junior High School played clarinet with a beautiful richness and warmth.
Also worthy of mention is saxophone player Norman Wilmore, of Folding Deckchairs fame, who took the music to another level with his cool and composed playing of the abstract piece Miniature No. 4 by Polish composer Thomys Alojzy.
Judge and adjudicator Mrs Brodie, who was in the isles for the festival, said her week so far had been “absolutely terrific”.
She said: “I do adjudication for the national festivals throughout the UK and I have to say that in many areas here the standard is just bubblingly superb!
“We’ve had an amazing seven young people play tonight, for the Young Musician [competition] but we could have had 10 or 15 who would have been equal contenders, and every single one of these could have been a winner.”
While the standard of music throughout the night, and indeed the week, had been high, Mrs Brodie said it was Miriam’s sense of communication which had made her stand out.
She said: “Miriam has incredible dexterity, a beautiful sense of communication – it was as though every note she played she wanted us to hear. It is something totally abstract, that sense of communication … but she’s got it. And she also gave us a good contrasting programme which is an important thing to do.”