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500 Boys in Young Musician Competition

Wednesday, 03 March 2010

A staggering 500 boys - more than half the School - took part in this year's Young Musician of the Year competition at Bolton School Boys' Division.  

The entrants in this year's final were already winners - each of the seven Junior finalists and seven Senior finalists having already won their instrumental category.  For the past month boys have been performing in heats in class music lessons and at lunchtimes in the disciplines of brass, guitar, piano, percussion, strings, voice and woodwind. 

On the night, each boy performed on stage in the Great Hall in front of a large audience of parents and, as winners, all the boys took a trophy home with them.  However, there was also a prize for the overall best performance in the Senior category and in the Junior category - not an easy competition to judge given the range of disciplines but the job was done admirably by Mr Andrew Silver, a music composer.  In his summing up comments, Mr Silver, said: "This has been an evening of outstanding music-making and I am proud to be a part of it, there is some incredible musical talent in this school."  Close as it was, the Senior School Musician of the Year award went to Ben Smith in Year 13, who he described as "a very gifted pianist".  He had been pushed very close by a Shostakovich piece played by Oliver Quayle on strings.  The Junior Young Musician of the Year was Daniel Anderson, a Year 7 student, who played recorder.  In second place was Andrew Clelland on piano. 

The Most Promising Performer award went to Myles Blackwell, Year 8, for his singing.  This award recognises a strong contestant from the semi-final who did not quite make it to the final. 

Awards were also given for Composer of the Year.  Two awards were given in the Junior Section - and both Year 8 boys performed their pieces, Sam Critchlow playing guitar and Joseph Keegan singing. 

Mr Martin, Head of Music in the Boys' Division, announced the Senior Composer of the Year winner saying: "Since Year 7 this boy has been nothing short of a revelation.  Beyond playing a range of instruments outstandingly well, he is first and foremost a composer and I feel sure you will be hearing his name in the future.  The School has never met, nor is likely to meet in the future, a boy with more musical talent - he is now virtually another member of the Music Department.  He is, of course, Ben Smith!"

Headmaster, Mr Philip Britton, thanked the boys, the music staff and the judges, offering a special thank you to Mr Eastham of the Music Department who had listened to each of the 500 entrants in the first round!  Mr Britton went on to say: "Tonight has been a wonderful example of the range of talent that is to be found in Bolton School and just one more example of the breadth of extra-curricular activity that takes place here - I just learnt that this afternoon the first eleven football team has made it through to the final of the Greater Manchester Schools' County Cup and tomorrow our U13 boys are in the national final of the ISFA Cup.  This is in the same week that our Sixth Form boys were runners-up in a national business competition and the School's joint jazz band won its way through to perform at the Montreux Jazz Festival."

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Senior Winner

Young Musician of the Year (Senior) winner was Ben Smith

Junior Winner

Daniel Anderson, playing recorder, was the Young Musician of the Year (Junior) winner

The winners on the night

Myles Blackwell, Joseph Keegan, Sam Critchlow, Ben Smith and Daniel Anderson were all winners on the night