2 July 2018
Talented pupils are celebrating after winning the top prizes in an annual music competition to celebrate the life of a gifted former music scholar.
Flautist, Xiaoli Biggs, and singer, Rosie Bailey, triumphed in Monmouth School for Girls’ high-calibre Blacklock Music Competition.
Xiaoli won the instrumental category in 2017 and this year retained her title with a polished performance of Concertino by Chaminade.
Rosie impressed with her version of Treson’s Gimme Gimme in the event, which showcased the outstanding musical skills of pupils in Years 7 to 10 at Monmouth School for Girls.
It was the fourth year of the renamed competition in honour of Dr Celia Blacklock, a former Monmouth School for Girls’ Music scholar, who died from cancer, aged just 33, in August 2014.
Dr Blacklock’s parents, Charles and Lyn Blacklock presented the prizes which had been kindly donated by the Friends of Monmouth School for Girls.
All candidates were first-class and Simon Shewring, who studied at the University of Wales and Royal Academy of Music, had the tough task of adjudicating.
The preliminary rounds had been fiercely contested with more than 50 entries in total and the top six competitors in each section had been chosen to perform in the final at Hamersley Hall.
Ffion Sheppard, who sang Schönberg’s Empty Chairs at Empty Tables and Keisha Ndlovu, with Amazing Grace, were the runners-up in the vocalist category.
Trumpet player, Holly Mardell, who played Wedgewood’s Come Dance With Me, was the runner-up in the instrumental section along with cellist, Anna Vines, with Minsky Truckin’ Through The South.
Singers Rachel Shutt, Tabby Prosser-Wrench and Lottie Franklin and instrumentalists Eden Greaves (cello), Nerys Yeung (piano), and Eleanor Moore (violin) also reached the finals.
Director of Music at Monmouth School for Girls, Mrs Amy Clouter, said: “The standard of competition was remarkable and it was a wonderful evening of music-making.
“I would like to congratulate all the students who reached the finals and all the people who came along to support and make it an evening to remember.”
Mrs Clouter thanked Mr and Mrs Blacklock for presenting the prizes, Mr Shewring for adjudicating and the Friends of Monmouth School for Girls for generously donating prizes.
The Concert Choir, under the baton of Mrs Clouter, sang A Thousand Years (Perri), Somewhere Only We Know (Hughes, Rice-Oxley & Chaplin) and Don’t Stop Believin (Perry, Schon and Cain).
The Junior Singers, under the direction of Mr Mike Steer, a Music teacher at Monmouth School Girls’ Prep, sang Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel) and Sieber’s There was an Old Person of Cromer.