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Guitarist Sophie rocks the stage
Published 17/03/14



A TEENAGE guitarist performed like a real rock star at the Henley Youth Festival gig night.

Sophie Lloyd, 18, was one of seven acts that took to the stage at Henley Youth Centre on Saturday.

She played a mix of heavy rock riffs including her personal favourite Metal Mania, a grade eight exam composition by Rockschool.

Stage hands had to rush on mid-set after one of her solos was so loud it caused a speaker to fall over.

Sophie, of Fair Mile, Henley, was cheered on by a group of her friends from Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School in Marlow.


She said: “It was really good, lots of fun. I’ve been playing for about eight years but I only got really serious in the last two or three years because I want to go to music school and hope to make a career out of music.”

Sophie is due to take her grade eight guitar exam next week.

More than 60 people attended the gig, where other performers included Henley DJ The Stepper, aka Ross Duncan.

The 16-year-old, who lives in Elizabeth Road, has been performing for two years.

He said: “I do mostly children’s parties, with a few adult ones. The most people I’ve performed in front of is about 100.”

Christian rapper Teelow Awojobi, who is part of a group called JC4Me, performed a 15-minute set including his own single Slave, inspired by the Oscar-winning film 12 Years A Slave.

Teelow, 18, said: “I was a bit nervous and was praying lots before I went on. However, it went pretty well and the audience was great and got involved.”

The other bands to perform were indie ensemble Kit Greengrass, alternative rock group Handsome Devils Club, heavy metal group Ignite the Sky and blues band Random Article.

The gig was organised by Jo Eddon, a seamstress, of Albert Road, Henley, and Daisy Bayliss, an event and music management student.

It was the fourth year running that the gig has been held at the centre in Deanfield Avenue.

Mrs Eddon said: “It was a very successful night. There was more variety this year than we have had before and there’s no doubt that there are some very talented young people in Henley and nearby.

“Handsome Devils Club, who also performed last year, were fantastic — real crowd-pleasers. Ignite the Sky were astounding. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying most of the time but they were really top-notch.”

On Sunday, more than 100 primary school children took part in a junior proms concert at Shiplake College.

The concert, which was split into four sessions, began with a rendition of Sheila Nelson’s Starseeker by Henley Festival Orchestra’s string group and was followed by solo and group performances of music from Bach to the Beatles.

The college provided lunch for the audience.

Festival co-founder Alfie Hay said: “I’ve compered every year since it started and the children are always brilliant. They are far beyond their years and for seven-year-olds to stand up in front of a crowd is great. They had a great time and the whole audience really appreciated it.”

Tim Armstrong, 10, from Shiplake, who played a trumpet solo of Slinky by Mark Nightingale, said: “This was the first time I’ve played at the youth festival but I’d love to do it again, it’s great fun.”

Organiser Kate Swinburn said: “It’s really nice to see lots of young people perform, some for the first time.”

The festival, which has a theme of “Heroes”, began on Monday last week when cartoonist Kev Sutherland visited primary schools in Henley to teach children how to create a comic strip.

Mr Sutherland, who has written for The Beano and Marvel, drew caricatures of pupils.

Stephen Guy, of mechanical art workshop Fire the Inventor, held a workshop at the youth centre where children learnt to built their own moving automatons.

Children’s illustrator Jenni Desmond and artist Camilla Shelley also visited schools and Michaela Clarke, of Create ’n’ Make, held a craft session for children to make their own superhero mask at the Quaker Meeting House in Northfield End.

The Kenton Theatre hosted a shadow puppet display by the Finger and Thumb Theatre group, Henley library had a storytime session for under-fives and Owen Mayes, of Reading pet store Owen’s Animals, visited schools throughout the week with a range of exotic creatures including tarantulas, lizards and snakes.

Twelve children took part in a ukulele lesson at Trinity Primary School given by singer and musician Naomi Vallance.

Miss Vallance said: “It was a really successful session. The kids were all really good and picked it up very quickly.”

Frank Drewitt, eight, from Swyncombe, said: “The best bit was learning the F chord because it’s my favourite. I can now play the start of I’ll Fly Away.”

Gary Marcham, of Henley Judo Club, held a taster session at Trinity Hall in Harpsden Road, the Henley Hockey Academy held a coaching session at Jubilee Park and a fencing taster session was held at Henley leisure centre.

Stephanie Maxwell, of Steph’s Divas and Dudes, held a dance class for six- to nine-year-olds at the YMCA in Lawson Road.

Thames Valley Taekwondo held a trial session at the leisure centre and Performance Cricket held a training session at Shiplake College.

Today (Friday), the festival exhibition will open at the youth centre. Artwork, films, literature and photographs will be on display until Sunday when prizes will be presented.

The festival wraps up with a film competition at the Regal Picturehouse at 10am on Sunday before the prize-giving at the youth centre at 3pm.

For more information, visit www.hyf.org.uk

To see more festival pictures, visit www.henley standard.co.uk

Published 17/03/14

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