The Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds
The Rotary Club of the South Cotswolds

Young Musician of the Year 2013

The tenth final of this annual competition organised by nine local Rotary Clubs in the Southern Cotswolds area took place at Wycliffe College in Stonehouse on 17th February 2013. It was a truly wonderful anniversary event, and the standard of the competitors was extremely high. The judges had a difficult time deciding on a winner and indicated that there could have been five worthy winners.


The first heat of the competition, held at Katherine Lady Berkeley School, produced the heat winners for Woodwind and Brass, and the second heat at Westonbirt School produced the strings and piano finalists. Two from each section competed in the final.

The final produced some amazing performances which had the audience enthralled: from the powerful Piano playing of Lewis Sayle, who was the piano section winner, to the deliciously sensual playing of the Alto Sax by Lydia Kenny, whose rendition of Bach’s Air on a G String arranged for Alto Saxophone was superb.


In earlier years, the competition had been won by siblings. In Damian DeSouza (2007) was succeeded the following year by his sister Therese. Then again, last year, Megan Hughes emulated her brother Toby who in 2009 won with the Double Bass. This year we not only had siblings competing against a previous sibling winner but two brothers, Felix Hughes (Cello) and Jed Hughes (Double Bass), competing against each other and also we had Joe Rees, last year’s winner of the Fred Perkin award for most promising newcomer, against his older brother Sam (Clarinet), the woodwind heat winner. Their mother Jenny Rees has been a regular accompanist at the competition over the years for them and other competitors.


The variety of music performed was extensive and there were some wonderful performances from all the finalists. Ryan Morgan, a previously placed finalist and the heat winner of the Brass section, showed real sensitivity and a polished performance on his trombone with a wonderful tone.


When the judges went to deliberate we were treated to a recital by Megan Hughes, who is now a pupil at the prestigious Purcell School. She played the third movement of the popular Violin Concerto by Max Bruck and then a more modern piece, Ladies in Lavender, the incidental music by Nigel Hess to a film of the same name.


When the judges returned to give the verdict, the chairman of the panel, Rachel Howgego, gave constructive comments to each of the performers. Then, because of the high standard, the judges awarded an equal third place to Lydia Kenny (Rednock School) and Sam Rees (Marling School) who gave a polished performance from Finzi’s Five Bagatelles. Second place was awarded to the 12 year old Chinese pianist Man Ho Hui (Katherine Lady Berkeley School) who gave a truly amazing performance ranging from Gershwin to Beethoven and finally a colourful Chinese piece “Clouds Chasing the Moon” by Wang Jiazhong. However the worthy winner was Felix Hughes (Home Tutored) for his performance of a movement from Suite 4 of the Bach Cello Suites, an Adagio by Bargiel and a frantic and exciting Tarantella by Squire.


The prizes were awarded by sponsors’ representatives and by Rotary District Governor David Houghton. Joan Norris presented the winner with the Mervyn Norris Cup, and Penny Perkin presented the Fred Perkin award to Louise Graham (Rednock School ), the first oboist in the competition and a bright prospect for the future.


The evening was ably introduced and compered by Terry Pascoe of Dursley Rotary Club, in his relaxed and inimitable style, and an enjoyable evening was had by all.