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Article date - 24 July 2017
The awards were launched last year to celebrate and support young musicians, with one dedicated to the memory of courageous schoolboy Harrison Ledsham – a pupil in the council’s Music Service – who died aged 12 in 2015 after battling bone cancer.
The awards are open to 10-18 year olds who live or are educated in the borough. Applicants were nominated by their school teacher, instrumental tutor or other adult mentor connected with their music making, like a band or choir conductor.
Guitarist Toby Barker of Lansbury Bridge School won the Harrison Ledsham Award for showing exceptional musical talent and potential, nominated by guitar teacher Mr Garner. Harrison’s parents Karen and Paul Ledsham presented the award to the Year 8 student who performed as an electric guitar soloist at the Summer Concerts.
Nathaniel Chesworth, Year 10 Cowley International College violist, and Dominic Francis, Year 11 Rainford High trombonist and pianist, a member of the St Helens Youth Brass Band, both received a Music Hub Award for Musical Achievement.
All three winners were invited to a musical development weekend with the Music Service, and have been given personal development plans to support their musical progress over the next year.
This year’s well-attended concerts organised by the council’s Music Service brought together children from schools and music groups across the borough, who took part in numerous ensembles, choirs and orchestras over four nights.
For many, this was their first time performing with a group, and their first time in the town hall, but nerves didn’t hold the young performers back.
Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillor Joe Pearson and wife Sylvia were in attendance and presented Nathaniel and Dominic with their awards.
Councillor Pearson said: “It was wonderful to see so many young people show their passion for music – to perform in such a cohesive way clearly shows the great lengths they’ve gone to in rehearsals. Congratulations to everyone who took part, particularly the musicians who won the Music Hub Awards, and thanks to all the young people, staff, tutors, teachers and parents who helped make the concerts a resounding success!”
Group photo show Music Hub Award recipients Dominic, Nathaniel and Toby (left-right) with Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, and parents of Harrison Ledsham, Paul and Karen.