Here are the winners of Harborough's Junior X Factor 2021 competition

Judges said that the amazing youngsters provided "one of the strongest competitions we have ever had"

Monday, 5th April 2021, 10:41 am
Updated Monday, 5th April 2021, 10:42 am
The three category winners Naomi Benson (Best Original Composition), Ione Banks (Best Vocal Performance and Overall Winner) and Ciaran Reiff-Marganiec (Best Instrumental Performance).
The three category winners Naomi Benson (Best Original Composition), Ione Banks (Best Vocal Performance and Overall Winner) and Ciaran Reiff-Marganiec (Best Instrumental Performance).

A brilliant teenager has hit all the right notes in a tough Market Harborough music charity’s talent showdown for the second year running.

Ione Banks, 16, carried off the Overall Winner prize at the Great Bowden Recital Trust (GBRT) virtual Junior X Factor 2021 competition.

Ione also won the Best Vocal Performance prize for her “flawless performance” of Hopelessly Devoted to You from the musical Grease.

She was handed music store vouchers worth £75 and £175 of vocal lessons funded by the Trust.

Ione was judged joint winner alongside Naomi Benson of the Trust’s Best Original Composition last year.

And musician Naomi, 18, is also ecstatic after she again won the coveted accolade this time round.

Her piece of music for string quartet was hailed by the panel of judges as absolutely “outstanding”.

Thrilled Naomi received £200 worth of music store vouchers.

Ciaran Reiff-Marganiec’s effortless cornet playing was rewarded with the Best Instrumental Performance prize of £50 of music store vouchers and £150 instrumental lessons paid for by the Trust.

Prizes for the most promising entrant in each category were awarded to Boris Dring (composition), Lily Vasey (vocalist) and Emmeline Rose Hamilton (instrumentalist).

Emmeline Rose was the competition’s youngest entrant at just six years old - and she wowed the judges with her “very accomplished performance on her lever harp”.

Judges Andrea Possee, Andrew Cartwright, Debbie Smith, John Dilleigh and Kathryn Cartwright watched nearly 60 video entries submitted for the contest.

They chose 14 singers and instrumentalists and three composers to feature in the Finals Concert - premiered on YouTube on Saturday March 27.

The Trust’s Managing Trustee Sue Benson said: “This has been one of the strongest competitions we have ever had with a very high standard of performances and compositions across the board.

“The panel had a very hard job to choose the prize winners.

“But the overall winners in each of the three categories stood out from the start and are all very talented musicians.”

She added: “We are delighted with the response that we have received to the competition’s new format.

“We have received some lovely feedback from parents telling us how the competition helped their young people to have something positive to focus on during the lockdown.”

The Trust has been running a successful annual Junior X Factor talent competition since 2008.

This year the competition took on a new format due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The usual face-to-face heats and Finals concert were replaced by video entries and a virtual concert.

“We are grateful to the competition’s sponsor, Market Harborough and the Bowdens Charity, for supporting this change,” said Sue.

You can still watch and enjoy the Finals Concert online at: https://www.gbrecitaltrust.co.uk/junior-x-factor