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Herts and Essex students sings her way to national final of Rotary's Young Musician competition

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Singing schoolgirl Madelaine McCarthy (8415116)
Singing schoolgirl Madelaine McCarthy (8415116)

Singing schoolgirl Madelaine McCarthy is looking forward to a national final after winning the regional vocalist of the year title in Rotary's Young Musician competition.

The 18-year-old student at the Herts and Essex High School impressed the East of England judges at St Faith's School in Cambridge to take first place and is now looking forward to a final round on the national stage in Chelmsford on May 4.

Currently studying for A-levels in drama, English language and psychology, Madelaine said: "When I leave school I hope to do a degree in musical theatre or classical vocals in London and eventually perform on the West End stage and in movies.

"I absolutely love musical theatre and the classic vocals such as Barbra Streisand, who is my absolute idol, along with Julie Andrews and Katherine Jenkins."

She practices in the pub: "I work in the Nags Head in Little Hadham as a barmaid and all the regulars love it when I'm singing behind the bar. I don't get nervous in front of big audiences as I've had a lot of experiences as I've done shows at the Royal Albert Hall and the 02 Arena singing lots of solos, but I get nervous when singing intimately for small groups of people."

A keen pianist, she also teaches singing to other youngsters and shares her love for musical theatre with them.

The Parsonage Lane resident began performing when she was a student at Summercroft primary: "I joined the local theatre group 'Theatretrain' after I played Mary Poppins in my Year 4 production.

"Then I was cast in The Sound of Music UK tour with Connie Fisher and Jason Donovan and toured the country doing Andrew Lloyd Webber's production for nine months."

It was an opportunity made possible by mum Julie, a manager at World Duty-Free, and dad Peter, who runs his own print management company, although they are both "tone deaf"!

Madelaine said: "They both give me so much support taking me to and from competitions and never failing to come to shows or concerts I'm part of and when I did The Sound of Music, all rehearsals were in London and they would take me to every single rehearsal and wait for me and bring me home and I cannot thank them enough for all of their support and love."

Brother Jake, 22, a former Birchwood High School student is also a big fan, although he is currently travelling in the Far East. Madelaine hopes to follow in his globetrotting footsteps after her exams.

Her studies at Warwick Road have also given her valuable opportunities to hone her talent.

She said: "At Herts and Essex, I have played Amber Von Tussle in our production of Hairspray, and also Dido, in our production of Dido and Aeneas, a tragic opera which I sang a song from this in the competition."

She described how she chooses her performance pieces: "When choosing pieces I just listen to what my idols sing and look at the same kind of composers and try and make things my own as I have quite a classical tone. I sing pieces I enjoy and usually when its classical or musical theatre I'm in my element as it just fills me with so much passion and it's like I'm on a West End stage."

Madelaine added: "I also played Jean Val Jean in the school musical of Les Mis which was a rewarding challenge as that's the lead male but they made him a her and I sang as a soprano all thanks to Peter Clayton the head of music, who will be accompanying me in the national final."

"This is lovely as he began my musical journey with me in Year 7 and has supported me all the way through to Year 13 where I will say goodbye, hopefully with him, winning the nationals!"

Singing schoolgirl Madelaine McCarthy (8415107)
Singing schoolgirl Madelaine McCarthy (8415107)

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