YOUNG people from Wharfedale were among competitors displaying their musical talents in a Rotary competition.

Keighley’s Rotary club, which organises the annual young musician contest, hailed the event as a huge success.

A record 27 competitors vied for the accolade of being chosen as a winner or runner-up in one of four age categories.

And two overall winners – a vocalist and an instrumentalist – would progress to a second round, to be held at York next March.

This year’s contest, at Keighley Shared Church, featured two new volunteer adjudicators – Emily Overend, a peripatetic music teacher with Bradford Music Service, and Jess Mahler, conductor of Skipton Community Orchestra.

Retiring judges Adrienne Fox and John Marshall also attended and were each presented with a Rotary Paul Harris Fellowship by club president Mick Baines.

The fellowship was in recognition of the support both have given to the competition over a number of years.

Also present was Keighley town mayor, Councillor Peter Corkindale, who ­– with Mr Baines – presented certificates to the participants.

Judy Hazlehurst, for Keighley Rotary Club, said standards in the competition increased every year.

“It is wonderful to see how individuals have developed their skills over the years that they have entered,” she said.

She added that the club was delighted with the rise in entries, which it attributed to the club’s engagement with social media helping to promote the event to a wider audience.

Of the 27 who took part, 19 were competing for the first time.

“We were also delighted by the variety of instruments played and the increased number of vocalists – which all added to the enjoyment for the audience,” said Mrs Hazlehurst.

“Instruments included the violin, saxophone, clarinet, piano, electric keyboard and classical and electric guitars.

“The Shared Church is an excellent place for a musical event as there is a beautiful piano and very good acoustics as well as sophisticated audio visual equipment.

“Rotarian Jonathan Smith, a professional in the field, made good use of the technology to get the best sound out of the performers. Also, their images were projected on to a huge screen.”

The overall winners were Grace Hey – who sang Send in the Clowns, accompanied by Sue Watkiss – and Callum Whitton, of Ilkley, who played Rachmaninoff’s Prelude no 1 in C # minor op 3 no 2 on the piano.

“Both performances were breathtaking and showed an exceptional maturity – despite the performers’ ages being 14 and 13 respectively,” said Mrs Hazlehurst.

Winner in the 12-and-under class was Clara Natress, of Ilkley, who played Cat’s Eyes and Hushabye Mountain on the piano. Runner-up was James Jet Uttley, who played Dudriardz by Wieniawski on the violin, accompanied by Sue Watkiss.

First in the age 13 class was Lili Szasz, who sang God Help The Outcast from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Runner-up was Blessing Clarkson, who played Talkin’ the talk by Mike Cornick on the clarinet.

Winner of the 14-15 class was Grace Hey, whose Send in the Clowns was from A Little Night Music by Steven Sondheim. The runner-up was pianist Ellie Coral, who performed Up on the Hill, by Nikki Isles, and Feelin’ Good, by Brian Bonsor. First in the 16-18 class was Jasmine Hope Colgan, who sang When I am laid in Earth, by Henry Purcell. Runner-up was Jacob Lockyer, who played Pleudio Triston, by Diego Pujol, on the classical guitar.

Mr Hazlehurst paid tribute to all those who supported the event. She said: “Thanks go to the performers, their families for the commitment they showed in supporting the musicians, the judges for their lively and encouraging feedback, the audience for attending and the Rotarians for their help and the delicious refreshments!”

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