The 28th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards has been the most unusual running of the Awards in their history. Not only have none of the judges been able to meet in person to discuss the performances, but all of the performances have been assessed through video recordings of singers performing to recorded accompaniments provided by our official accompanist Richard Shaw, who did not meet any of the performers.
The six Finalists submitted video recordings of their recitals, in which they performed an own choice piece along with a song by each of the set composers; Handel and Peter Wishart. The latter composer was the dear husband of Jackdaws founder Maureen Lehane, and would be celebrating his centenary this June. The Awards were founded in his memory and later renamed to additionally commemorate Maureen after her passing in 2010.
The Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards have earned renown through their celebration of potential as well as achievement, unique among Song competitons, which is 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 each of the singers;
“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 disributed in a different format to usual.
The Winners are:
Runner up Performance of a Wishart Song
Jamie Woollard, Bass
Runner up Performance of a Handel Aria
Stephanie Hershaw, Soprano
Best Performance of a Wishart Song
Sam Harris, Tenor
Best Performance of a Handel Aria
Ffion Edwards, Soprano
Overall Winner of the 28th Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards
Anna Cooper, Mezzo-Soprano
The adjudication panel and Jackdaws Music Education Trust want to express heartfelt thanks to the Official Accompanist Richard Shaw for his hard work throughout the process, and to The Rosemary Bugden Trust, The Oldham Foundation & Geoffrey and Margaret Batten who have supported this year’s Awards.