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The Woodard Musician of the Year Competition took place on Friday 29th May by Zoom.

It was to have been held at The Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, on Saturday 16th May with Julian Lloyd-Webber as principal adjudicator but this as no possible with the current lockdown.

The finalists, Helena McKillop, Director of Music at The Peterborough School, (who had organized the event and did the adjudication), the Senior Provost, Canon Brendan Clover, and the Chairman of the Woodard Board, Richard Morse, met on Zoom.  We then heard video recordings of the runners up and the finalists.

As ever the standard was astonishing and the task of choosing the very best a hard one given that every performer deserved to win.

In the end these were the winners:

Junior runner-up:

Grace Shearing from Lancing College Preparatory School, Worthing, playing ‘Schindler’s List’ by Williams on the violin.

Junior Young Musician of the Year:

Christian Aldridge from Worksop College playing ‘Czardas’ by Monti on the marimba and glockenspiel.

Senior runner-up:

Kaila Do from St James’ School playing ‘Fantasie Impromptu’ by Chopin on the piano.

Senior Young Musician of the Year:

Laura West from King’s School, Rochester singing two songs Das Verlassene Mägdlein by Hugo Wolf and ‘Waltz of my Heart’ by Novello.

The encore was a lovely little performance by Harrison Wallaert singing ‘Dancing Cheek to Cheek’ by Berlin.

Richard Morse announced the winners and runners-up who will receive a cash prize, and the winners will receive a trophy delivered to their school by Canon Brendan when the situation allows.  Richard said in the an email that he was ‘looking forward to the next Musician of the Year already’.

Many thanks to Helena McKillop who put so many hours into organizing the event.

And congratulations Christian and Laura.  You are worthy winners!


Adjudicating the Woodard Young Musician of the Year has been a wonderful and humbling experience. The musical talent that we have across the Woodard Schools is really quite exceptional. At a time when Music education seems to have been sidelined with the focus being on core subjects, I can’t but help but wonder what our politicians would say if they heard these remarkable youngsters play. Christian, Grace, Alexander, Oliver, Eloise, Harrison, Isla, Vanessa, Emily, Jodie, James, Isabella, Carolina, Kayla and Laura and our other 113 competitors – you are the future and can make a difference. With the gift of music, you have the gift of life: Music breaks all boundaries and provides you with a platform from which you can grow and flourish. Whether you become a musician, a teacher, a doctor, a lawyer – your musical journey will provide you with skills beyond playing your instrument. In the words of Plato: “Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”

Well done to you all and thank you,

Helena McKillop