West Lothian Young Musicians hit the high notes

Talented pianist Latisha Chan from West Calder High School has been named as West Lothian’s Young Musician of the year for 2024.

Latisha’s superb performance of Etude Op. 10, No. 3, in Eb Major by Frederic Chopin saw her awarded the top trophy at the special concert at Deans Community High School in Livingston recently.

She will now represent West Lothian at the national final held in the Royal Conservatoire of Music in Glasgow in May 2024.

Multi-instrumentalist Latisha, who also plays trumpet in both school bands and regional ensembles, will also be heading off to the prestigious Royal Conservatoire of Scotland again later this year, after being accepted to study piano.

The runners-up were gifted guitarist Allan Bishop from Whitburn Academy for his excellent rendition of Lenny by Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Linlithgow Academy vocalist Colum Cameron’s outstanding version of Anthem from the musical Chess.

The capacity audience were also entertained by a solo show from last year’s winner, pianist Oliver Plenderleith, followed by a performance by West Lothian Schools Big Band while the adjudicators decided on the prize winners.

Executive councillor for education Andrew McGuire said: “Huge congratulations to Latisha for her superb performance to win West Lothian’s Young Musician of the Year.

“Latisha was the runner-up last year, and she hugely deserved to win the top prize this year. With finalists from nearly every secondary school in West Lothian, it shows the depth of musical talent we have in West Lothian, and what our young people can achieve though hard work and dedication.

“I look forward to supporting Latisha at the national finals in May, where he will compete against some of the best musicians in Scotland.”

He added: “Thanks to all the staff from across the council who worked together to stage competitions within each local secondary school to select who would represent them.

“Special thanks must also go to the three local adjudicators, former Arts Manager Colin Hutcheon, award-winning singer Hannah Rarity and leading brass player Katrina Marzella.

“They all agreed the standard was really high and had a difficult job of choosing an overall winner from all the talent on display on the night.”

Prizes were also given out on the night to Deans Community High School Senior Brass Ensemble and Linlithgow Academy Guitar Ensemble, whose video submissions of performances will also be entered into the national ensemble finals.

The Scottish Young Musicians Competitions are supported by the Music Education Partnership Group who have provided the trophies and vouchers for the winner and runners-up.

Other talented students competing in the final were: Freddie Sinnott, Guitar, Armadale Academy; Abbie Gilland, Voice, Bathgate Academy; Abbie Moore, Flute, Deans Community High School; Eleni Sneddon, Voice, Inveralmond Community High School; Nana Antwi-Donkor, Piano, Sinclair Academy; Lola Mullen, Voice, St Kentigern’s Academy; Sorley MacDonald, Violin, St Margaret’s Academy; Gary Paterson, Guitar, The James Young High School; and Emma Ferguson, Xylophone, Winchburgh Academy.

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