Fantastic four singers soar to new heights

A FANTASTIC four Ripon Grammar School singers soared to new heights when they competed at two major music festivals, having recently excelled in national exams.

Leading the charge was 17-year-old Nia Peedell, who showed her star quality when she came away with three first places from Harrogate Competitive Festival and Skipton Music Festival.

The sixth former from Kirklington, who hopes to study medicine, won the musical theatre category at Harrogate Competitive Festival, alongside first place in the songs from the shows categories at both Harrogate and Skipton Music Festival.

She was among the four talented singers, who all attend Ripon’s Upstage Academy school of performance, who won prizes at the highly competitive festivals.

To add to their success, all four achieved the highest possible distinction grade in their London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art exams.

Nia achieved distinctions in her LAMDA grade 8 exams in solo acting, group devising drama and musical theatre.

Holly Maisey, who has ambitions to perform in the West End, secured second place in musical theatre and songs from the shows at the Harrogate festival, in addition to third place in songs from the shows at Skipton.

The 17-year-old from North Stainley also gained distinctions in her LAMDA grade 8 solo acting, grade 8 group devising drama and grade 7 musical theatre.

Heidi Chapman won a second place in musical theatre at Harrogate and first and third places in Songs from the shows at Skipton and Harrogate.

The 14-year-old, from Ripon, gained distinctions in LAMDA grade 5 solo acting, grade 6 group devising drama and grade 6 musical theatre.

Florence Anderson, 12, from Ripon, won second and third places in her songs from the shows categories at Skipton and Harrogate and gained distinctions in her grade 4 solos acting, grade 4 group devising and grade 3 musical theatre LAMDA exams.

Nia explained how both festivals were very different: “However, all those who performed were amazing. I love how supportive everyone at Upstage is of each other when performing even when in the same category.”

She started performing at Upstage when she was six years old: “As a family, we’re all passionate about the arts and performing - I definitely get it from my mum. I find singing very therapeutic. Performing in front of others feel very rewarding too.”

Juggling her music with her studies, she has singing lessons every other week and is also preparing for her role in the upcoming Upstage musical, Into the Woods.

“Medicine is still my plan, but I would love to continue singing and performing where I can when at university as I really love it,” she says.