Key performance wins it for Carrie

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The Rolls-Royce of pianos proved to be a young musician’s key to success as she dazzled judges with her talent.

Carrie Watts was able to play her dream instrument – a Steinway valued at £122,000 – as she competed at the annual Bede Academy Young Musician of the Year contest.

Competition was hotter than ever at the Blyth academy as guitar vied with violin, drums, cornet, saxophone and voice for the prestigious top spot.

Carrie, 17, who has reached the exalted grade 8 level in just four years, entertained judges and a packed audience with her rendition of Presto.

She said: “The Steinway was incredible; you could feel the difference through the keys and it was an amazing experience.

“I don’t know what it is going to be like going back to my little upright at home.

“I thought the standard was incredibly high this year and I couldn’t believe it when the judges chose me.

“It was nerve-racking but also really rewarding.”

Director of music at Bede, Helen Kerr added: “I am just so proud of everyone and the contest has been absolutely amazing and so professional.

“The standard also reflects the amount of support we get from parents, who really believe in their children.”

Judges placed soprano saxophonist Oliver Barron, 14, second, and in third selected 16-year-old Callum Kewan.

Last year’s winner, Ashleigh Charlton, entertained the audience with a performance of Nessun Dorma.