The 28th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards has been a unique event in the history of the competition. Not only have the panel not been able to meet in person to discuss the performances, but all of the performances have been video recordings made by the singers performing to recorded accompaniments.
From a preliminary round in December which saw around 40 submissions to the competition, six finalists were selected. We had hoped that the final, which was due to take place in January, would take place in the Lehane-Wishart studio at Jackdaws and the singers could perform live for the panel with their performances streamed thereafter. That was not to be and the finalists all resiliently accepted the challenge of making a new, single take, video of their final programmes to submit to the panel.
Their programmes were required to include an own choice song or aria along with a piece by each of the set composers; Handel and Peter Wishart.
The latter eminent British composer was the husband of Jackdaws founder Maureen Lehane. The Awards were initially founded in his memory and later renamed to additionally commemorate Maureen in 2010. We are looking forward to hearing much more of Peter’s work as we make plans to celebrate his centenary in June.
A massive vote of thanks must go to the competitions official accompanist Richard Shaw, who made recordings of the Peter Wishart songs for all competitors to use. He then also worked closely with each of the finalists to make sure they had tailored recordings for the pieces in their final programmes. We are also indebted to Audrey Hyland and Dr. Jessica Walker who sat on the adjudication panel alongside our Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg.
The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards celebrate potential as well as achievement, which seems particularly appropriate given the challenges which have faced all entrants to the 28th Awards. Chair of the Adjudication Panel, and Jackdaws Artistic Director, Saffron van Zwanenberg, praised the singers from both rounds;
“The judges were very impressed by the resilience and resourcefulness of each competitor in these difficult times. They should all be very proud of themselves.”
To reflect the changed nature of the competition at this time, the prizes have been distributed in a different format to usual.
The Prize-Winners are:
Runner up Performance of a Wishart Song
Jamie Woollard, Bass
Runner up Performance of a Handel Aria
Stephanie Hershaw, Soprano
Performance of a Wishart Song
Sam Harris, Tenor
Performance of a Handel Aria
Ffion Edwards, Soprano
Overall Winner of the 28th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards
Anna Cooper, Mezzo-Soprano
Jackdaws Music Education Trust want to express many thanks to The Rosemary Bugden Trust, The Oldham Foundation & Geoffrey and Margaret Batten who supported this year’s Awards.