A JFS girl who “gets shy singing in front of her family” wowed the audience and judges to become Emunah’s Young Singer of the Year on Sunday.
Emma Sherrard — who sang Electricity from Billy Elliot before a crowd of 350 at the Royal Academy of Music in Marylebone — says she was shocked when her name was announced as the winner and added: “I thought it must have been a mistake.”
The Mill Hill 12-year-old, a member of the JFS singers, performed at the school’s winter concert where the competition was launched and was persuaded to enter by her music teacher.
“At home she only sings in her room,” said her mother Sara. “I am shocked she has won but very proud.” Emma received her award from Mitch Winehouse and the £200 prize may go towards a voice coach to enhance her professional ambitions.
Ten-year-old South Hampstead pianist Elizabeth Kandelaki took the young musician prize in the national competition, held in association with the JC and raising funds for the Lord and Lady Sacks music therapy programme, part of Emunah’s welfare work in Israel.
“This is the first time I have won anything,” said Elizabeth, a pupil at the Russian School of Music in north London (formerly Belsize Music Academy). “I am overwhelmed.”
The judging panel of Yehudi Menuhin School music director Malcolm Singer, JC editor Stephen Pollard, Teresa Cahill, Norma Fisher, Françoise Pierre-Geller and Marc Verter were impressed by her performance of Grieg’s Notturno.
As well as a £300 prize, she will perform at Emunah’s dinner at Guildhall in December.
Joint runners-up in the young musician category musician were pianist Alessandro d’Orazio, 10, and harpist Olivia Ter-Berg, 17.
Runner-up in the young singer award was Ilan Galkoff, 10, who has performed on the West End stage in Les Miserables and Oliver. Renowned cellist Steven Isserlis presented a cup in his name recognising the use of music for charitable purposes to The Four Sons — Noam Bernstein, George Rosenfeld, Asher Levy and Jamie Rubenstein — who recorded a CD to raise funds for Emunah and two other charities. Jodie Bloom and Louis Isaacs won a woodwind prize.
Last year’s young musician winner, 12-year-old violinist Amos Sharp, gave a recital during the judges’ deliberations.