Sunday may have been a winning night for girls after Little Mix won this year’s X-Factor competition – but the previous day it was boys who triumphed in the borough’s own annual talent contest.
Four teenage friends who formed an indie rock band were crowned Wandsworth Young Performer 2011 champions on Saturday.
Wanted Down Under – featuring Chestnut Grove School pupils Dom Jarvis, Luke Hamlin; Christopher Godfrey and Oliver Kremer – beat 11 other acts to take the title.
An entertainment-packed evening at the Civic Suite, in Wandsworth High Street, saw singers, dancers, beat boxers, bands, and musicians aged between 14 and 19 take to the stage.
Their performances were judged by Fiona Ramsay, a manager of Loick Essien and former director of Music World International for Beyonce and Kelly Rowland, Bethany Haynes, a producer at Battersea Arts Centre and Virginia Wall, the interim head of youth work for Wandsworth Council’s children’s services department.
The panel assessed the budding stars on creative risk-taking/innovation, stage presence/presentation and technical ability before finally awarding Wanted Down Under the first place prize of a recording session at Stormont Studios, in the Devas Youth Club.
Young Deacon – aka 17-year-old Ryan Henry – was named one of two runners up for his rap/spoken word performance. The young rapper, who regularly performs and receives developmental support at Tooting Hub, uses his performances to counter the negative image sometimes portrayed in the press about today’s young generation.
Fellow runners up were Maverick & T.R.Nuh – real names Reuben Alfred-Lecky and Tiana Oldroyd – a beatbox duo who only began working together a few weeks before the show. Reuben has previously performed at BAC and is one of its first Beatbox Academy members.
All of the talented acts were watched by special guest Kate Jones, project manager for the Mayor of London’s Rhythm of London and Big Busk 2012 projects.
Ms Jones used the occasion to select acts from the line-up to go straight through to Big Busk 2012, which gives young people the chance to shine at performance spots all over the capital.
Wandsworth Young Performer 2011, which was organised by the council’s arts team in partnership with the youth service, was hosted by Channel AKA's resident comedian Jazzie, alongside popular presenter Claira.
Sean Dunkling, the council’s assistant director for young people and learning, was on hand to present the runners up with their prizes. Young Deacon was given an artist development package with BAC.
Along with Maverick & T.R.Nuh, he also received an invitation to be given various other performance opportunities by Bigga Fish, the company responsible for producing the Young Performer contest.
Wandsworth Council’s culture spokesman, Councillor Jonathan Cook, said:
“This year’s competition was another incredible showcase of talent and every act deserves praise. It is so encouraging to see the young people of Wandsworth investing themselves in such exciting and worthwhile pursuits.
Councillor Kathy Tracey, cabinet member for education and children’s services, added:
“If these youngsters continue to follow their dreams with such passion and determination I have no doubt they will go on to have great success in the future. I would also like to congratulate the staff at Wandsworth and our partners, who worked so hard behind the scenes to give these teenagers an outlet to demonstrate their talents.”
December 14, 2011