Hartlepool performing arts students shine at festivals

The MTA infant choir - champions at the Darlington Festival.
The MTA infant choir - champions at the Darlington Festival.

Talented Hartlepool students shone when they took part in two North East competitions.

Students from the town-based Miss Toni’s Academy of Singing & Performing Arts competed in the Darlington Music Festival and the Shine Festival in Redcar.

MTA champions at the Shine Festival.

MTA champions at the Shine Festival.

And to the delight of academy founder Toni Parker-Harvey, they came back with a string of top placings.

Students entered solo, duet and group categories at the Darlington event and Vaughan Kelly won the open vocal section for students aged 11-13 years.

Kitty Skilbeck was first in the musical theatre section for all ages.

The pair were also first in the vocal duet section for those aged 17 years and under with their rendition of What I’ve Been Looking For from High School Musical, said Toni.

We don’t enter completions to win but it was a huge shock and bonus taking both titles back to Hartlepool. The competition was tough but the MTA magic must have rubbed off on the judge

Toni Parker-Harvey

She added: “The highlight of the day was the MTA Infant choir swooping first place in the 11-and-under choir section and then MTA girl band Sparkle taking home the first place in the 17 years and under section.”

Two weeks later, MTA added to its trophy haul at the Shine Festival.

Toni added: “There were lots of places throughout the day including firsts for Grace Pearson, Sophie Bulmer, Max Penfold, Poppy Watt and Sienna Smith.

“Sienna Smith gained the highest mark of the full competition from grades 0-4 with 92 for her rendition of Part Of Your World and was invited to perform at the winners concert, along with Poppy Watt as Sienna and Poppy got the highest duet mark.

Sienna and Poppy - two stars of MTA.

Sienna and Poppy - two stars of MTA.

“The girls were awarded £25 for their duet and Sienna was awarded an additional £125 and a trophy for the overall most promising vocalist of the competition. “

MTA’s childrens and youth choirs were chosen as the choir champions of the festival. Delighted Toni said:”It was an amazing experience for all of our students.

“We don’t enter completions to win but it was a huge shock and bonus taking both titles back to Hartlepool. The competition was tough but the MTA magic must have rubbed off on the judge.

“It’s been a crazy month for MTA and this was the icing on the cake. Very proud!”

Sienna Smith with her trophies.

Sienna Smith with her trophies.

The last year has been busy for MTA. It moved to a bigger studio in Enterprise House to accommodate huge numbers of new students.