Beating the drum for Olympics

James Lister
James Lister

AN excited young musician from Hartlepool will be watched by a worldwide TV audience of up to four billion after being chosen to perform at the Olympic Games.

Music student James Lister is used to playing to audiences of a few hundred as a drummer with local bands through Hartlepool charity Red Dreams.

Now, the 22-year-old is preparing for his biggest-ever gig at the London Olympics’ spectacular opening and closing ceremonies.

James, from Seaton Carew, will be among a cast of 15,000 who will take part in the closely-guarded opening ceremony on Friday, July 27.

It will feature young people showcasing the best of Britain, a parade of competing nations and the highly- anticipated entrance of the Olympic Flame.

James found out about the opportunity through a tutor at University Campus Barnsley, where he is studying popular music.

He said: “I’m really excited, I can’t wait.

“I completely forgot I had applied until they rang me up three months ago and asked me to audition in London.

“As far as I know I will be performing as part of a group but they have said inidividuals will also have their own part.

“Whether, I’m one of them or not, I don’t know.”

The Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle, responsible for Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting, is the ceremony’s artistic director.

James, who went to Manor College of Technology in Hartlepool, has been measured up for a costume and will soon attend a series of practice sessions. James, who has played in student bands, started playing guitar and saxophone as a child, but switched to drums in his early teens.

His ambition after graduating is to play with a touring band.

James added: “It will be nothing to compare to what I have played previously.

“This will be absolutely amazing and the biggest thing I have done.”

James will be supported by his family, including parents Celia and Graham Lister and brother Joe, 22.

The Lister family also have another connection to the Olympics as James’s cousin, Andrea Hewitt, is New Zealand’s top female triathlete and will be competing in the games.​