AN EVENING of music, dance and comedy showcased the talent of youngsters in a Britain's Got Talent-style competition.

Richmond School and Sixth Form College held its first talent show last week, with the line-up of 11 having been whittled down from almost 40 initial auditions.

Acts included vocalists, musicians, a comedian and dancers, offering a rich and diverse programme.

Organised by Stephen Boyd, lead teacher of music, the evening showcased the immense talent of the students and was a platform to develop both their performance skills and their confidence.

Saul Tuite, newly-appointed head boy, was the show’s enthusiastic and engaging compere for the evening.

Many other students were involved in stage management, sound and lighting who, together with the PTA who served refreshments throughout the evening, ensured the event ran like clockwork.

The judging panel included Ashley Barnard, senior reporter for the Northern Echo and Darlington & Stockton Times; Claire Hall, head of creative arts at Stokesley School; and Ben Clarke, Richmond School’s outgoing head boy who hopes to continue his drama studies at the Guildhall.

They were faced with difficult decisions to reach their final three, as every act was of a high standard.

Uncovering new talent was an exciting outcome of the show, with the winner, Nicole Bishton, standing on stage for the first time at Richmond School.

Nicole, a Year 9 student, sang a contemporary interpretation of Ave Maria, an arrangement recorded by Beyonce in 2008 and a re-write of Franz Schubert’s original.

Nicole said: “I am so happy to win the competition. I was really nervous but once I started to sing it soon got better. I was totally shocked when Ben Clarke announced that I had won. My special thanks go to Mr Harris for his beautiful accompaniment.” Nicole has loved singing since she was a toddler. Until now, she has been singing for pleasure but would now like to have the opportunity to perform in the future in concerts at Richmond School and in the local area.

Second place went to ‘Beat’, a four-piece group from Year 9 who rocked the house with their performance of Riptide, with Ellie Carter and Aleisha Bruce, also Year 9 students, coming third with their rendition of Adele’s When we were young.

Ashley Barnard said: “I was blown away by the talent displayed on Thursday night. The students were all fantastic, and the variety of acts was also impressive.

"We were treated to unbelievable solo singers, including our winner Nicole who had such a beautiful quality and power behind her voice, but the other girls were equally impressive with emotive performances.

“Musically, we were taken on a journey with classical instruments performing modern hits, and two amazing bands that I could happily have watched all night. The dancers were inspiring, from a thought-provoking ensemble piece to Eva with her edgy tap routine.

"And of course, who could forget our comedian Jack who had excellent timing and entertainment value. The show’s compere Saul was also an absolute star, so charismatic and funny, he kept the show moving along and engaging. All in all, it was a fantastic evening, but such a difficult task to judge!”

Ahead of the judges announcing the winner, the audience heard guest singer Max Ferguson, a Year 7 student and a semi-finalist at Britain’s Got Talent in 2018 with ‘Bring It North’.

Mr Boyd said: "I am constantly astounded by the breadth and depth of creative talent at Richmond School. Our students did themselves real credit with performances of an incredibly high standard.

"The variety of acts too was a pleasure to see and all of our students should be very proud of themselves. It was a spectacular event and could not have been possible without our fabulous judges who highlighted a deserving three with Nicole a worthy winner on the night.”