Bolton School Boys’ Division’s fifteenth Young Musician of the Year competition showcased the school’s outstanding range of musical talent to be found across Years 7-13.
The Great Hall audience was entertained by fourteen contestants, all of whom were already winners, having won best in category awards across Junior and Senior sections. Jamie Logan and Jamie Gregson had been crowned winners in the Brass section, in the Junior and Senior categories respectively; Xuan Wang and Alex Gao had been winners in the Piano/Organ section; Mark Liu and Victor Chow had won awards in the Junior and Senior Strings category; Billy Burrows and Adam Whitmore had been winners in the Vocal section; Neeraj Singh and Thomas Higham were already Woodwind winners; Toby Yates and Sammy Ramadan, Guitar winners; and Jamie Death and Tyler Titley, Percussion winners. On the night, each boy played a piece in their chosen category as the evening provided a spectacular finale to a superb two months of music-making; the unenviable task of choosing two winners went to the Director of Music from Stonyhurst College, Andrew Henderson.
The original contest, which began in mid-January, had seen entries from hundreds of boys and from this group, 84 semi-finalists had emerged – 12 performers, six senior and six junior, in each of the seven classes. Lasting the whole day, the semi-final saw 14 pupils become winners in their instrument class.
On the night, the audience was also treated to the two winning pieces by Rishi Narla (Junior) and Adam Whitmore (Senior) in the Young Composer of the Year category, as well as a performance by the Most Promising Performer, Jean-Paul Asumu, of Michael Jackson’s Rock With You.
Adjudicator Andrew Henderson offered detailed and insightful feedback to each contestant and told them: “All of you are winners tonight and what the audience sees here is the top of the pyramid. Music is a language and each performance has been about how we communicate. Really what I have been looking for is the best performance of the evening.” He then declared the Senior Young Musician of the Year to be Y13 student Victor Chow who played violin and the Junior Young Musician of the Year to be pianist Xuan Wang from Y9. Each boy took away a cash prize of £100, a winner’s trophy and will have their name engraved on the Young Musician of the Year plaques which are on permanent display in school. All the finalists also received a category winner trophy.
Director of Music in the Boys’ Division, Mr Bleasdale, said: “This has been an exceptional evening of music. My sincere thanks go to Andrew for being an excellent judge and to our accompanists, Ms Lien, Mrs Hampson and Mrs Whitmore, to Mr Forgrieve for his help on many fronts and to Mr Deakin for making everything sound so great. Finally, thanks also go to the boys – and their 25 individual music teachers – for their hard work and for providing us with a wealth of wonderful music.”