Sam Nicholls and Friends in Concert

Over 150 people filled St Paul’s to hear the outstanding talent of three young students of the Junior Royal Northern College of Music.

Sam Nicholls (the grandson of our Reader Joyce Leach) entertained us with his percussion skills, playing the marimba, drums and vibraphone, while Rachel Burnett (also aged 16) sang six solos, one of which she accompanied on the piano, and Nick Rushworth (aged 18) played the saxophone and vibraphone.  They were accompanied on the piano by Fredrik Holm, who is the MD for the Westmorland Youth Orchestra.

It was a real privilege to have been there to listen to the talent of these inspirational young people.

Sam is in year 12 at Kirbie Kendal School, and travels to Manchester on Saturdays to study percussion at the JRNCM.  He started learning drums from the age of 7.  He was awarded the Ian Macpherson prize in his first year at JRNCM for outstanding musicianship, his second year the Sylvia Swiffin Trust prize for outstanding progress, and last year the prize for ensemble playing with his percussion duo partner Nick.  Sam now plays with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain and is playing for the first time at the BBC Proms this summer.

Nick lives in Salford and is currently studying for his A levels at Holy Cross College.  He has been studying percussion and saxophone at the JRNCM for five years and is now in his final year.  He won the regional finals of the Rotary young musician award two years ago and has performed saxophone solos in venues such as the Bridgewater Hall and both of Liverpool’s cathedrals.

He would like to pursue a career in the aviation industry as an airline pilot.

Rachel attends Merchant Taylors’ School for Girls in Crosby, and has studied singing at the JNRCM for four years.  She also studies saxophone and composition and was shortlisted finalist in BBC Proms Inspire Young composer of the year 2017 and 2018.  She has performed solos with choirs in Belgium, France and Italy, including St Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the Last Post ceremony in Ypres, Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, and in the presence of HRH Prince Andrew.  She has performed vocal solos at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. She is currently writing a concerto for saxophone.

And the range of home-made cakes and biscuits served in the interval were fantastic too!