South Queensferry heat of Rotary Young Musician Competition

First place for musician Laurie Whike, pictured with judge Aaron Calder and Queensferry Rotary Club president Neil McKinlay. (Contributed image)
First place for musician Laurie Whike, pictured with judge Aaron Calder and Queensferry Rotary Club president Neil McKinlay. (Contributed image)

Talented singers and musicians from South Queensferry stepped into the limelight recently.

A host of youngsters competed in the local heat of the Rotary Young Musician and Vocalist Competition 2018 at Kirkliston Parish Church on Tuesday, January 23.

First place for vocalist Kathryn Hope, pictured with  judge Stephen Dennis and Queensferry Rotary Club president Neil McKinlay. (Contributed image)

First place for vocalist Kathryn Hope, pictured with judge Stephen Dennis and Queensferry Rotary Club president Neil McKinlay. (Contributed image)

Organised by the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, nominations were invited from schools and professional music teachers.

And there was no shortage of talented pupils nominated to take part.

Queensferry Rotary Club speaker secretary Morag McCallum said: “There is so much young talent in Queensferry and Kirkliston, it’s lovely to be able to showcase it in this way.

“This year is quite special for us too because our District 1020 will be hosting the competition, with the final to be held in Heriot Watt in May.”

The local heat provided young musicians under the age of 18 with the opportunity to display their talents, both vocally and instrumentally.

For some, it was their first experience of performing in front of an audience but none shied away from the challenge.

Youngsters’ families, their sponsoring teachers and Rotarians were there to cheer them on and members of the public were also invited along.

Their presence in the audience added very much to the sense of occasion for the performing young musicians.

And it certainly was an event when the pupils performed in Kirkliston.

Morag said: “The standard was very high.

“The vocalists’ judge Aaron Calder praised the singers on their articulation and their clear melody lines.

“He also congratulated them on their performances and the way they told the story of the songs.

“Fellow judge Stephen Dennis congratulated the musicians on their confidence and their range and strength, as well as their attention to detail and their way of bringing out the mood and character of the music.

“It was a wonderful showcase for these talented young pupils.”

Aaron Calder is currently teaching music at Bathgate Academy and has led and conducted numerous choirs, as well as composing music for film.

Stephen Dennis is Director of Music at Merchiston Castle School.

His primary interests are electronic, popular and jazz music and Stephen also released his debut album in 2016.

Both judges had a tough job on their hands on the night but, in the end, winners had to be selected.

In the Musician Category, the results were as follows: 1. Laurie Whike on Cornet playing Silver Threads among the Gold by Rimmer; 2 James Haxton on Piano playing Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen; 3 Sam Jones on Violin playing Danse Paysanne by Moffat.

And in the Vocalist Category, the results were: 1 Kathryn Hope singing Burn (from ‘Hamilton’) by Miranda; 2 Alexander Melville singing Danny Boy from the traditional arrangement; 3 Harry Manson singing She’s Like the Swallow from the traditional arrangement by Strommen.

All of the students are at Queensferry High School and were accompanied by curriculum leader Cat Eunson, along with teachers Flic Sim and Lily Stroud.

The winning singers and instrumentalists will now go forward to the Edinburgh City and East Area Final at Heriot Watt University, Lecture Theatre 4, onFebruary 14.

And aptly for Valentine’s Day, the local entries are hoping the judges will fall in love with their performances once again!

The District 1020 final will then be held in Heriot Watt University, James Watt Theatre, on Sunday, 
March 11.

This will be followed by the Region 1 Final in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on Sunday, April 22. And the winners there will be invited to the Grand Final on Saturday, May 19, at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh.

The final event will be organised by the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno.

Queensferry Rotarians are keeping their fingers crossed that a local youngster or two will be there to fly the flag for the town. Anyone who heard the rich seam of musical talent in Kirkliston last month would not be surprised to see a Queesnferry High School student there.

One thing’s for sue, it’s an event not to be missed!

Four stages of competition

The National Young Musician Competition is now a well-established and successful competition promoted by Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland.

It is open to all levels, grades and styles of young instrumentalists and vocalists.

There are four stages, each designed to support and encourage the development of musical talent.

Local Heats

Organised by local Rotary clubs and hosted by schools or colleges. The winners of

each category are entered into the district finals.

District Finals

Organised by Rotary Districts. In the case of a high number of entrants, it may be necessary to hold preliminary rounds prior to a district final.

The winners of each category (and, at the discretion of the organisers, the runners-up) are then entered into a regional final.

Regional Finals

Organised by Rotary between mid-February and March. The winners only of each category at this event are entered into the national final.

National Final

In 2018, the National Final will be held on Saturday, May 19, at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh Campus.

At all stages of the competition, competitors receive a certificate of participation.

After the judges have determined the result of the competition, one or more judges will comment on their observations before announcing the results.

At the National Final, a trophy will be presented to the winner in each category – the Rotary Young Musician title is presented to one vocalist and one instrumentalist.

In 2017, around 800 Rotary Clubs participated giving 8000 young musicians a platform.