Songsters hoping to sparkle

Young songsters Sparkle who are hoping for success in the Open Mic competition
Young songsters Sparkle who are hoping for success in the Open Mic competition

MEET the exciting new group which has reached the live regional finals of a talent competition - just six months after they first sang together.

Sparkle, which is made up of talented girls from Hartlepool and Peterlee, was only formed in March.

But now, Lottie Willis, aged 10 and from Peterlee, and 11-year-olds Holly Bentham, Campbell Daniels and Lily Gowland, all from Hartlepool, are on the verge of reaching the national stage.

They have qualified for the regional finals of the prestigious Open Mic UK singing competition, and will now be performing in the live showcases of the competition.

Their big moment arrives on October 19 when they will perform at the Tyne Theatre in Newcastle.

All of them are students with Miss Toni’s Academy of Singing and Performing Arts which is based in Park Road, in Hartlepool.

The academy is run by Toni Parker-Harvey who said: “I am really proud of them. The girls have all known each other for ages but they only formed as a group for the Hartlepool Music Festival.

“They have been coming in for loads of rehearsals and they have really clicked. They are MTA’s newest girl band and we are all very excited for the live regional finals.”

Open Mic, held by Future Music, is the biggest search for unsigned talent in the UK, and travels the country every year in search for the best singers, singer-songwriters, rappers and vocalists.

Thousands of hopefuls entered the competition. Those who made it through the audition stage will now take part in a live head-to-head battle alongside the best talent in their region, performing in front of hundreds of audience members and a music industry judging panel in their bid to win a place at the national grand final.

Events co-ordinator and head of Future Music Chris Grayston said “Every year that we hold this competition the bar is raised and the quality gets higher and higher. We’re really looking forward to experiencing the raw talent from across the country.”

The competition is divided into age categories – Under 16, 16-20 and 21 and over, and the national finalists will have the chance to be win the main prize of £5,000 to spend on the development of their music career.