Teenager wins chance to sing solo at Tonbridge Castle show

Lily-May Marshall will be the opening act for an evening of West End’s leading ladies called Sunday at the Castle [July 7].

Kerry Ellis, who has appeared in Wicked, Les Miserables, Oliver!, We Will Rock You and Cats, will be joined by other chanteuses such as Shanay Holmes, Christina Modestou, Emma Hatton and Savannah Stevenson.

The Rising Star competition was set up by Ms Ellis to encourage young people in the area who dream of being a West End star.

More than 50 local children aged 11 to 18 sent in videos of themselves performing musical theatre.

Hannah Rotchell, choreographer and former pupil at Hillview, and her fellow co-producer Oliver Tourle, a local solo artist, whittled the entries down to five, and Ms Ellis then chose the winner.

She told Lily-May: “I cannot wait to hear you open the show and sing live on Sunday. I know you will be brilliant.”

Lily-May’s successful entry was the song Pulled from The Addams Family musical. She chose that number because ‘it shows off my vocal range best and it has a lot of meaning’.

“I can relate to the change in emotions when events come along,” she told the Times. “The song talks about being pulled in a new direction and dealing with the things that it offers.”

She performed Pulled at Hillview’s Easter concert, and has also taken part in Beauty and the Beast and Cats at the performing arts school.

She is a member of the Hillview Singers, who will also be taking part in the extravaganza.

And she takes part in productions with Talentz, a company based in Tunbridge Wells who will be taking their version of the musical Wizard of Oz to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year.

“Musical theatre is what I usually go to rather than pop,” says Lily-May. “I love The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables and Heathers.”

She is not fazed by the prospect of singing solo in front of such a large audience.

“I used to be nervous but I’ve gained a lot more confidence as I’ve performed more,” she said. “I will be a little bit nervous but it’s very exciting.”

As part of her prize she will also be invited to record two tracks of her choice at the Lana Banana studio in Sevenoaks.

Lily-May would like to continue with her musical pursuits but she has set her sights on an even more demanding calling: becoming a doctor.

“I will keep performing but I’d like to go into medicine,” she said. “I think I can do both, I’m good at keeping up so I’m confident I can do it.”

Ms Rotchell said: “We liked the way in which Lily-May was using the narrative of the story – and she also has a beautiful, powerful voice.”

She added: “It was so hard to choose the final five entries for Kerry. We were mindblown – there is so much talent in this area.”

She also revealed that there will be an exciting initiative to include many of the others who entered the Rising Star competition.

“We want to stay in contact with the top 20 singers for another project, which will be revealed in the near future.”

Tickets for the evening are available at sundayatthecastle.com/leadingladies

To watch Lily-May’s video go to youtu.be/Kwv1dEmvaGk


A weekend of show-stoppers

The Tonbridge Music Weekend at the Castle also features Sarah Jayne headlining with ‘Dolly Parton and the Country Superstars’ on Friday [July 5], alongside the Haley Sisters.

On Saturday night there is The Rocket Man, an Elton John tribute band, with support from Stayin’ Alive UK playing the Bee Gees.

Tickets are available from eventbrite.co.uk

Visit tonbridgemusicweekend.com

(main image LILY AT HILLVIEW 110)

SHOWTIME: Rising Star competition winner Lily-May Marshall (top) celebrates her success with classmates at Hillview ahead of this weekend’s concert at the Castle, page 2

(embedded image LILY AT HILLVIEW 102)

MEANINGFUL: Lily-May Marshall performed ‘Pulled’





Tonbridge Daily calendar welcomes new sponsor

THE photographic competition to be featured in the hugely popular Tonbridge Daily calendar is open.

The brainchild of Tonbridge Daily blogger Suzannah Niklas, the calendar features images of the town sent in by local photographers.

Now in its fourth year, the 2019 edition sold more than 1,000 copies, with orders coming in from all over the world.

The proceeds raised almost £1,800 for three local charities.

This year’s beneficiaries will be Hospice in the Weald, the 17th Tonbridge Scout and Guide Band and Rett UK, which supports people suffering from the rare neurological disorder.

The 2020 charities were nominated by the public and Mrs Niklas said: “There were so many to choose from and the task was difficult.

“The chosen organisations were all highly popular with local readers.

“It is the massive community involvement in the calendar’s production and sales that is its success.

“Who would have thought a town calendar could unite so many people, all helping in their own way to make it a winning project for the town.”

There is a new sponsor for the project, Citrus Financial Management Ltd in Hildenborough.

Mrs Niklas said: “I’m really excited and proud to work with a local company who shares the same strong community values as Tonbridge Daily.

“It’s headed by Managing Director David Braithwaite, the plain-speaking financial expert whose comment and opinion is often called upon by the media, and is frequently heard on BBC Radio and TV.

“I’m extremely grateful to David’s generous offer which will enable three locally connected causes to benefit from the funds.”

He also presents his own show, On The Air With David Braithwaite, on BBC Radio Kent each Tuesday evening from 9-10pm.

Mr Braithwaite said: “Having always been a local business we are genuinely thrilled to be involved in the Tonbridge Daily calendar for 2020.

“I grew up and still live in the Tonbridge area, and the calendar shows what a truly sharing community we all are, and how involved people love to be with this project.

“I cannot think of a better way to highlight that sense of community and belonging in Tonbridge than by using local talent to photograph an area we all know and love, and using this as a vehicle to give back to those incredible charitable causes that benefit.”

The winning entries for the photography competition will be chosen by a panel of judges comprising Mrs Niklas; Christine Highland, an artist at ArtSpring Gallery and creator of iconic maps of local towns; local photographer Emma Stokes; personal stylist Elisa Trayner; and Sam Goode, co-founder of Tonbridge Old Fire Station.

To enter, send the photo with your name and its location in jpeg form to tonbridgedailycalendar@gmail.com by August 11.

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