WOKING came alive with the sound of music on Saturday when the 2015 Young Musician of the Year final was held in the town centre’s ChristChurch.
More than a hundred guests piled in to the pews, including Woking Mayor Tony Branagan, to see performances from finalists Ben Goldscheider, 17, (French horn); James Carrabino, 17, Robert Cheung, 16, and Dylan Price, 15, (piano); 17-year-old Poppy Miller (cello); Madeleine Pickering, 17, (viola); and 17-year-old Chris Brewster on both trombone and euphonium.
Mezzo-soprano Flora McDonald’s dulcet tones impressed, as did the two Junior Musicians of the Year’s renditions on piano (Sawa Ward, 14) and cello (Sophie Kauer, 13).
Adjudicator, Quentin Poole, is a worldwide name on the oboe and an experienced examiner, working for all the leading music colleges and conservatories.
For more than 25 years, he has been closely involved with training young musicians at the highest level, both as a tutor for the National Youth Orchestra and at the Purcell School for young musicians where, for 12 years, he was Director of Music.
Mayor Branagan did the honours of presenting winners with the prizes. So close were the students’ accomplishments that third place couldn’t be separated and was awarded to two musicians – Robert for his piano recital and Madeleine for her perfect performance on the viola.
Second prize went to Ben for his talents on the French horn, while top slot went to former Winston Churchill schoolboy Chris, who blew everyone away with an emotionally wide range of pieces by Saint-Saëns, Castérède and Wilby on both trombone and euphonium.
Flora won the Most Promising Young Singer award, while a summer school bursary went to pianist Dylan.
High praise and a trophy also went to the XY String Quartet comprising Amy, 14, Isobel, 15, Alistair, 16, and Sam, 14. They are also the section leaders for Guildford’s United Reform Church Orchestra.
The evening ended on a high note, having totally lived up to the expectation of a superb night of music-making. A Woking Music Festival spokesman praised those who helped make it happen: “We are grateful to the Humphrey Richardson Taylor Charitable Trust for their invaluable financial support, and to Handel’s Pianos of Sunningdale for their part in arranging the loan of a Bechstein D piano.”