News, events and schools' information for families across Bath and West Wiltshire

Sheldon School hall was filled with music last week as students took the stage for the Young Musician of the Year Awards and Concert. The students showed their incredible musical ability and diversity with performances including everything from Chopin to Iron Maiden.

Of the evening, Headteacher Peter Lynch said, “It is an incredible honour to lead the school on a night like this. All the performers are exceptional and have shown commitment to our values to be brave and be the best you.”

Over 40 students auditioned for the contest with 18 selected to represent the Lower School (Years 7-9), Upper School (Years 10-11) and Sixth Form (Years 12-13) in the final performance. They showcased their talent to a packed house of family and friends with pieces performed on piano, drums, guitar, trombone, cornet, violin, saxophone, flute and voice.

The awards evening was adjudicated by special guest Tim Harrison, former Sheldon music teacher and current Assistant Director of Music at QEH School. He is also the conductor of Bristol Youth Orchestra and Bristol Metropolitan Orchestra. Along with the unenviable task of selecting the winners of our three categories, Mr Harrison also took the time to give each student feedback on their performances.

Liam Nel, Lower School winner, plays the trombone during the Sheldon Young Musician of the Year Awards.

In the Lower School category the winner was Liam Nel, a Year 7 student who has been playing the trombone since he was five years old. He became inspired to pick up the brass instrument after watching a screening of the Snowman and the Bear with live orchestral accompaniment.

Mr Harrison praised Liam for his exceptional performance, showing excellent control, tone and intonation. He noted that it takes a lot of courage to command the stage in Year 7 and was impressed with Liam’s choice to play brass because “The world needs more brass players!”

The Upper School Winner was George Calthrop (pictured top) in Year 11. George has been a passionate percussionist for eight years. He enjoys playing a range of genres and experimenting with different styles. For his performance, George treated the audience to heavy metal drumming that he described as “Super technical, super loud and basically five minutes of all around constant, non-stop noise!”

Mr Harrison said that George’s performance was visually very striking and very cool. He explained that George had “Good control of the kit” and that his style of playing “Requires energy and he gave it to us in abundance.”

Sixth Form Young Musician of the Year winner, Harriet Taylor plays a beautiful rendition of Honegger’s Danse de la Chevre. (Photo Credit: Lauren Dare/Sheldon School)

Harriet Taylor took home the top prize in the Sixth Form category. Harriet is in Year 12 and recently passed her Grade 8 exam in flute. She has played for seven years a fan of classical music, as well as Disney classics.

Mr Harrison praised Harriet’s technical assurance and impressive breath control. Harriet is a deaf musician and has worked with peripatetic music teacher, Mr Fosker, to develop innovative ways for her to access music and play with accompaniment. As Harriet says, “Flute will always be a massive part of my life and I’m looking forward to all the pieces I’ve yet to discover and all the musicians I’ll get to play with.”

Music is an important part of their student life at Sheldon. Many of the participants in the Young Musician of the Year competition developed their passions for music during lockdown and continue to use music to support their wellbeing, as it is a form of comfort and escape.

The Young Musician of the Year Awards are an annual event at Sheldon School organised by music teacher, Laura Hall. Clare Hodgkin provided piano accompaniment for several students on the evening.