Rotary's Young Musician Competition 2017



There are five rounds to this competition with two categories, Instrumentalists and vocalists.
Our club competition was held on Friday 20th January in the Students Union at the Heriot Watt University.
 We have organised this local event for several years. It has always presented the competitors with a challenge - and the audience with the opportunity to enjoy a widely varied programme by talented young instrumentalists and vocalists. This year we had 14 competitors from 5 schools. The standard of music was excellent.

Rebecca Pennykid from Deans Community High School came first in the vocal section. Second was Emily Wishart from Broxburn Academy. First in the instrumental section was Fraser Borland from Inveralmond Community High School playing the Baritone Saxophone. Second was Naomi McLeod playing the Clarinet.  Rebecca and Fraser qualify for the Edinburgh Area Final on Wednesday 15th February.
We are grateful to the Heriot-Watt University and the Student Association for allowing Rotary the free use of their facilities to host this competition. We should also like to acknowledge the support and encouragement the young musicians receive from teachers and families.
The second round in the Competition is the Area Final. This is open to Rotary clubs in the Edinburgh and Midlothian area to sponsor young Musicians. This year, at the same venue and on the same evening, we had a competition for young musicians from the Central and West of Scotland. Thus we had two competitions for the price one. It was held at the Heriot Watt University, Lecture Theatre 4 on the evening of Wednesday 15th February.

Over both competitions twelve Rotary Clubs sponsored competitors. Eight vocalists and twelve instrumentalists competed. The Master of Ceremonies  was our club member and now District Governor Elect, Lindsay Craig. We had two adjudicators: Emma Morwood teaches singing at the Heriot Watt University, George Watson’s College and privately. Peter Evans is a pianist, chamber musician, conductor and teacher. He remarked that it was unusual to have so many competitors playing instruments which are not normally played as a solo. These included a Flugel Horn, a Baritone Saxophone and a Tuba. The adjudicators thought the standard of music played by these young people was of a very high order.

The winners in the Central and East competition were, first in the instrumental section Annette Selwyn playing the piano and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Falkirk. Second was Morgan Tait playing the Flugel Horn and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Coatbridge, Airdrie and Monklands. The vocal section was won by Kiera  McGuire sponsored by the same club. In the City and East competition the winners were, first in the instrumental section Fraser Borland playing the Baritone Saxophone and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno, second was Ben Keay playing the Tuba and sponsored by the Rotary Club of Dalkeith. The vocal section was won by Rebecca Pennykidd sponsored by the Rotary Club of Currie Balerno. Second was Alasdair Bissett sponsored by the Rotary Club of Braids.

These seven competitors went through to the District Final on Sunday 12th March. The competitors were sponsored by clubs from the whole of South and East Scotland This was again held at the Heriot Watt University, but in the James Watt centre this time. 16 young musicians took part. The winning vocalist was, again, Rebecca Pennykidd. Runner up was Maeve Reekie, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Dumfries. Ben Keay was the winner this time with the runner up being Jennifer Futty sponsored by the Rotary Club of Biggar. These four should have gone through to the Regional Final held at the same venue on Saturday 1st April. However Maeve Reekie had to call off and third placed contestant, Milly Coltherd, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Selkirk, took her place.

The Regional Final is for contestants sponsored by Rotary clubs throughout Scotland and North East England. The winners in the vocal section were first Karen McLeod sponsored by the Rotary Club of Gourock. Second was Milly Coltherd (who was the late replacement). In the instrumental section Ben Keay was first and second was Chloe Burbury, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Alloa. She plays the Alto Saxophone and is only twelve years of age!

The Natonal Grand Final was held at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff on Saturday 6th May. Only the first placed contestants from our Regional final were invited to compete. It was a splendid occasion in a superb venue very well organised by the Rotary Clubs in South Wales. The standard of music performed was amazingly high. One of the adjudicators remarked that it had been more like a concert than a competition. The results were: in first place in the vocal section was Eyra Norman sponsored by the Rotary Club of Godalming, second Karen McLeod sponsored by the Rotary Club of Gourock and third Katie Marshall sponsored by the Rotary Club of Oakham. In the instrumental section first was Huw Boucher playing the harp and sponsored by Cardiff Breakfast Rotary Club, second was Ellis Thomas sponsored by the Rotary Club of Colwyn Bay and third was Anna Crawford sponsored by the Rotary Club of Rochester.

The two winners were crowned Rotary Great Britain and Ireland Young Musicians of the Year 2017.

On 19th May 2018 Currie Balerno Rotary club will hold this Grand Final at the Heriot Watt University in the James Watt Centre. It should be a great occasion.

We are very pleased to thank Dr Steve King MBE D.Litt, Director of Music at Heriot-Watt University, for his invaluable contribution and assistance throughout the various stages of this competition.

Here is a Letter from Rebecca Pennykidd.pdf