Our Patron Peter Donohoe CBE chaired the adjudication panel for our thirteenth Churchill Music Young Musician of the Year competition.

The audience was treated to a varied programme by eight of the Academy’s most promising musicians, with pieces from the classical repertoire by Bach, Brahms, and Mozart performed alongside more contemporary folk and jazz influenced compositions.

During the nail biting interval the audience were treated to a performance of Beethoven’s Sonata No 8 – ‘Pathetique’ Op 12 movement 2, by last year’s winner Jordan Walters, who will continue his studies at the Welsh College of Music and Drama. Bella Dorrington, this year’s winner of the Raymond Heyter Song Prize also performed to us. Churchill Academy Chamber Choir gave us a recital of their choral favourites whilst the adjudicating panel carefully and thoroughly chose the winners.

The overall winner of the Churchill Music Young Musician of the Year trophy and cheque was Maisie Slingsby. Maisie, who joined Churchill in Year 12, performed the first movement of Michel Blavet’s Concerto in A minor, followed by Kerry by Hilary Taggart. Maisie’s versatility and command of her instrument demonstrated her versatility and musicianship – a worthy winner indeed.

The Ursula Dornton Vocal trophy and cheque, sponsored by the Trinity Singers was awarded to Naomi Blowers who entertained us with ‘Voi Che Sapete’ from Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’, ‘Quia Respexit’ – from Bach’s ‘Magnificat’, and as a terrific contrast, ‘I could have danced all night’ from ‘My Fair Lady’.

The Churchill Music Junior Trophy was awarded to clarinettist, Chloe Phipps who thrilled the audience with her commanding performances of Movement No 1 from ‘Three Fantasy Pieces for Clarinet and Piano’ Op73 by Robert Schumann, followed by ‘Fantasy for Clarinet’ by Malcolm Arnold and the First movement of the ‘Three preludes for clarinet’ by Gershwin.  

John Skeen, who played the piano and included jazz in his programme, won the audience prize voted for by the full house at St. John’s Church.

The other competitors – Bori Gunyits (Guitar), Molly Johnson (Voice), Mimi Mendl (Violin), and Ella Hutchinson (Cello) – also gave wonderful performances and received awards for their participation in the finals.

Chris Hildrew, Headteacher, commented “I am bursting with pride at the talent, dedication and skill of our young performers tonight, but I am also overwhelmed with gratitude to Churchill Music for the support that they offer to us. Our students have had the opportunity to perform to a wonderful audience, and perhaps equally importantly, to receive feedback from a panel of leading experts in the field of musical performance. It’s these relationships and experiences that have helped grow our music department’s formidable reputation.”

Churchill Music is proud to host and sponsor this annual competition which is one of the highlights of the Churchill Music calendar. The winners will perform again at St. George’s Bristol at their Tom Eveson Gala Concert: Young Artist’s showcase on Tuesday 11th February 7.00pm. The winners also have the opportunity to compete in the District Final of the Rotary Young Musician of the Year competition which takes place in Cheddar on Sunday 15th March at 1.30pm.

The support that the students give to each other is wonderful to witness. Well done to all who took part. You gave us an excellent evening. We are truly proud of you all and our much treasured relationship with Churchill Academy.

From left, Maisie Slingsby, John Skeen, Chloe Phipps and Naomi Blowers

Churchill Music Young Musician of the Year Competition 2020