Hartlepool youngsters ‘shine’ at awards

Youngsters from Miss Toni's Academy of Singing anf Performing Arts at the Shine Festival.
Youngsters from Miss Toni's Academy of Singing anf Performing Arts at the Shine Festival.
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Young performers form Hartlepool proved they had what it takes to be stars when they took to the stage at two music festivals.

The students from Miss Toni’s Academy of Singing and Performing Arts (MTA) shone at the events called the Shine Festival and the Darlington Music Festival.

The Shine event was held in Middlesbrough and Redcar last month which saw the youngsters scoop the titles of Children’s Choir Champions and Youth Choir Champions.

Toni Parker-Harvey, who runs the academy said she was so proud of her students.

She said: “Our students have really shone at two local music festivals.

“They took part in the Darlington Music Festival and a new festival called Shine which was held in Middlesbrough and Redcar.

“At Darlington students entered solo, duet and group categories.

“Vaughan Kelly came away with first place in the open vocal section 11-13 years and Kitty Skilbeck came away with first place in the musical theatre section (all ages) amongst second and third placing.

“The pair also took home first place in the vocal duet section 17 years and under with their rendition of ‘What I’ve Been Looking For’ from High School Musical.

“The highlight of the day was the infant choir swooping first place in the 11 and under choir section and then girl band Sparkle taking home the first place in the 17 years and under section.”

The Shine Festival: A Music Festival for the Tees Valley is a new festival for community groups and choirs.

At the festival, students Grace Pearson, Sophie Bulmer, Max Penfold, Poppy Watt and Sienna Smith took first places for their singing.

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.

The pair achieved the highest duet mark and were awarded £25 for their duet.

Sienna was awarded an additional £125 and a trophy for the over all most promising vocalist of the competition.

At the competition the academy also became Children Choir Champions and Youth Choir Champions.

Toni added: “It was an amazing experience for all of our students.

“We don’t enter competitions 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.

“This was the icing on the cake.”