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Musical Youth!

Swanage and Purbeck Rotary held its annual local heat of the Rotary Young Musician competition on Sunday 5th February and we were once again overwhelmed by the depth and range of talent on display.

Performers playing and blowing instruments and singing demonstrated their prowess at Swanage Methodist Church with an enthusiastic audience of family and friends enjoying every minute.

President Chris LeFevre was on hand to present certificates to all participants and the awards for the winners, who will proceed to the District Final at Canford School in Wimborne on Sunday 19th February.

We would like to extend our grateful thanks to St Mary’s Junior Choristers and the Purbeck Youth Choir for performing during the interlude.

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The winners were as follows:

KS2 – 1st Place: Guiliana Forte; 2nd Place: Indiana Sanders-Wishart; 3rd Place: Hannah Kent; Highly Commended: Lily Fawcett

KS3 to 5 – 1st Place: Martha Harwood; 2nd Place: Nicholas Aiko Dando; 3rd Place: Abbie Yew; Highly Commended: Rosie Kent & Suzanne Lejeune

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Rotary Young Musician 2022

Swanage & Purbeck Rotary Charitable Incorporated Organisation are once again proud to launch their Rotary Young Musician competition.

The local heat will (hopefully!) be taking place on January 23rd 2022 (COVID permitting). Full details and entry forms are available on the Purbeck Youth Music website here.

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Rotary Young Musicians Entertain and Delight!

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Swanage & Purbeck Rotary CIO is delighted to announce the winners of its Young Musician competition. Open to all music genres, entries included a funky violin piece “Mr Kool”, a lively piano solo “Struttin’at the Waldorf”, songs from West Side Story and Les Miserables, and the winning performance from Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor. The competition was held online for the first time due to the Covid restrictions. 14 dedicated young musicians aged 8 – 18 years recorded their pieces and then uploaded them for the adjudicators to review. The whole process was masterminded by Tim Arnold.  

To celebrate their achievement, a compilation video of all the entries at local level was played via Zoom to Rotary members, participants and their parents and teachers. It is hoped that certificates will be presented in person to all participants at a celebration evening in July, at which the main winners have been invited to perform.

The winners were as follows:

1st Suzanne Lejeune – piano
2nd Alfie Yew – piano
3rd Rory Kerins – violin
Highly commended – Lily Fawcett, Lily Harris, Rosie Kent and Alvin Yew

1st Sally Aiko Dando – violin
2nd Nick Aiko Dando – piano
3rd Oscar Brady – piano

KS 3-5 – VOICE
1st Olivia Marcus
2nd Reuben Marcus

Sally and Nicholas were invited to go forward to the Rotary Wessex District level of the competition, and we’re delighted to announce that Sally not only won her Instrumental Class but was judged Overall Wessex District Winner too! She will now go forward to the Regional round, to be judged in June. President-Elect, Chris le Fevre, presented Sally with her District prize and certificate at Swanage Bandstand. (photos attached). Unfortunately, it was too wet for Sally to bring her violin. Sally is very excited to have been selected to compete in the next round of the Rotary Young Musician Competition 2021 and to have got a place to study violin at the Royal College of Music in September. “I’m hoping this will open doors in the future for me to one day become a professional orchestral player. After I finish college, I would like to have the opportunity to travel and give poorer communities the chance to appreciate music as I have.”

Congratulations to all the competitors for their enthusiasm and commitment during these tricky times!

Grateful thanks go, of course, to Tim for his hard work in ensuring that the competition could take place at all, to Rotarian Hilary Thraves, Swanage Rotary’s Youth Committee Chair, to our adjudicator Dilys Thomas and to all the children and their families who took part in the event and enabled us to run it despite everything that’s going on.

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Looking for Young Musical Talent

We are pleased to be able to announce that, despite all the current restrictions as a result of COVID-19, we will be running the Rotary Young Musician competition in 2021.

We look forward to seeing more amazing entries to this popular competition.

Full details will follow in the near future, but make sure that you’re ready by bookmarking the dedicated page at Purbeck Youth Music here.

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Young Musicians Defy Storm Dennis to Delight Audience

Storm Dennis may have wreaked havoc across the country but it still didn’t deter our young musicians from ensuring that they performed at the District Young Musician final.

Held once again at the excellent facilities of Bryanston School in Blandford, instrumentalists and singers from across our District performed for a decent sized audience to try and win a place in the regional final. Our very own Tim Arnold hosted proceedings as a very high standard of solo singers, flautists, violinists and pianists competed for the prizes.

Our adjudicators for the day were :

  • Philippa Topham, who has been Director of Music at schools in Dubai and England and has examined for ABRSM for 14 years;
  • Hannah Rose Innes, a multiple music prize winner and member of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra;
  • Peter Leete, a member of the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus and the Bach Choir for 30 years.

They certainly had their work cut out but ultimately there have to be winners and the first placed voice competitor was Katie Conquest from Basingstoke, with Jessica Gill, also from Basingstoke, picking up the best instrumentalist and overall first place prizes. They will both now go forward to the South West Region final, to be held at Queen’s College in Taunton on 29th March.

Grateful thanks go to all the competitors and their families, accompanist Chris Dowie and the members of Swanage & Purbeck Rotary who turned up in good numbers to help the day run smoothly. And, of course, to Sue Whitton and Jenny Huntley who provided wonderful refreshments for everyone there.

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Celebrating our Young Musicians

Storm Ciara was not enough to stop our young musicians coming out to take part in the local heat of the Rotary Young Musician competition, held on Sunday 9th February at Swanage Methodist Church.

The competition was in two parts, with the key stage 2 candidates first to take to the stage. Competitors showed off their skills on violin, guitar and there was also a vocalist. The quality on display, even at that young age, was most impressive.

After a short break, it was the turn of the key stage 3, 4 and 5 competitors to take to the stage, and we heard a variety of genres of music played on the trumpet, saxophone and piano, which delighted the audience present.

We were extremely grateful to our adjudicators Dilys Thomas, Tom Davis, Philippa Topham and Simon Lole for their expert assessment of the candidates in the two classes, and special thanks as ever to accompanist Jay Buckle. We were also delighted that Swanage Town Mayor Mike Bonfield was able to attend to help present the prizes.

In the evening, their was a Celebration Concert, at which the prize winners took to the stage again and were joined by the Swanage Big Band and the Purbeck Youth Choir. During the concert MC Tim Arnold also highlighted the new Purbeck Youth Music Initiative which it is hoped will maintain and develop music in our area and encourage more young people to take up music.

The Rotary Young Musician competition now moves on to the District heat, which will take place at Bryanston School on Sunday 16th February. Winners from that will proceed to the South West Regional Finals in Taunton at the end of March.

More photos of yesterday’s event and some of the winners are available on the Swanage Rotary Facebook page.

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Presentation Night

Our meeting this week included some guests who were receiving money from the proceeds of the club’s fundraising activities over the past year.

President John was delighted to present cheques to:


Swanage Lights

Lydia Bennett

Langton Matravers Lights

Admiral Nurses

Swanage Youth Centre

With the summer just around the corner, we are hopeful of raising many more funds to help support worthy causes, both local and further afield, from the various summer events that will be taking place over the coming weeks.