Snowfall delays musical contest

MHBG-24-01-13 Serena Holbech'Serena Holbech, who has won 2012's Young Musician of the Year award.
MHBG-24-01-13 Serena Holbech'Serena Holbech, who has won 2012's Young Musician of the Year award.

A MUSICAL competition which showcases the talents of young people has been forced to postpone its semi-finals for the first time in the event’s 24-year history.

Last Friday and Saturday, 96 young people aged between eight and 19 were scheduled to take part in the ‘heats’ section of the annual Young Musician of the Year contest.

The event was due to take place at Sibford School but organisers were forced to cancel the event on Thursday night following last week’s heavy snowfall.

Organiser Gareth Jeremy said: “Due to the inclement weather we had to reschedule the heats for the same day as the final on February 23.

“This year will be the 24th year of the competition and this is the first time we have had to cancel so we are very fortunate in that sense.

“However a lot of work had gone into this so it’s very disappointing but there is not much we can do about it. It just means now the final will be an extremely long day but I hope people will still come along for it.”

Entrants are split into junior (eight to 11-years-old), intermediate (12 to 15-years-old) and senior (16 to 19-years-old) age groups and each age group is then broken down into seven categories which include singing, guitars and woodwind.

Traditionally the competition involves two days of heats which take place in January ahead of the final in February when two entrants in each of their age-related categories return to perform again.

Trophies are then awarded to each of the category winners before an overall winner is announced. However this year the heats and final will now be held on the same day.

Mr Jeremy said: “The response to this competition has always been very very good; it’s excellent. The competition is held in very high esteem. Last year, for the first time ever, our overall winner Serena Holbech came third in the whole of Great Britian and Ireland in the national Young Musician of the Year.”

Serena, who was 15 at the time of winning the contest, won the judges over when she sang Se tu m’ami (If I Love You). She was then put forward to compete in the regional and later national contest against winners from other Rotary groups.

Mr Jeremy added: “We couldn’t have continued this competition for so long without the fantastic support of Banbury Charities which has been our main sponsor every year.”