A SINGING teacher is hoping Hartlepool residents will get behind a group of youngsters as they compete in a national competition.
Girl band Sparkle are performing on Saturday night in the grand final of Open Mic UK.
The group, made up of 11-year-olds Campbell Daniels, Holly Bentham and Lily Gowland, all from Hartlepool, and 10-year-old Lottie Willis, from Peterlee, will take to the stage at Birmingham NEC.
The girls are all students at Miss Toni’s Academy of Singing and Performing Arts, which is based in Park Road, Hartlepool.
Academy owner, Toni Parker-Harvey, said: “The girls are really excited but they’re a bit nervous too because they’ve been looking on YouTube at the other acts and some of them have two million views.
“We’ve just told them that all they have to do is try their best and no matter what happens, we’re proud of them.
“This is the first big thing they’ve done together as a group and they haven’t even been together a year.
“Just to make it to the final in a national competition, alongside acts that have two million YouTube hits, at such a young age is amazing.
“Getting to sing on a stage like this is an amazing opportunity for them.”
Open Mic UK is the biggest search for unsigned talent in the UK and travels the country every year on the lookout for the UK’s best singers and singer-songwriters.
Thousands of hopefuls entered the contest nationwide.
The competition is divided into age categories, under 16, 16-20 and 21 and over. The winner of the grand final will win the main prize of £5,000 to spend on the development of their music career.
Toni added: “The standard the girls are at after less than a year is amazing.
“They can sing everything in four-part harmonies and it comes very naturally to them. It’s very rare to find a group of girls who can sing together like that so naturally.
“Competing in the final is going to be a great experience for the girls and for everyone who knows them, and I know everyone is so proud of them for getting this far.”
To vote for the girls to win, text Open29 to 86222. Costs may apply.