MEZZO-soprano Rebecca Chandler has landed one of the region's most prestigious music awards.

The 20-year-old singer of Gatebeck, near Kendal, won the hearts of adjudicators and audience alike with her winning performance in the final of the 37th Keldwyth Cumbrian Young Musicians Award, held at the Victoria Hall, Grange-over-Sands. Already well known for her solo work with local choirs, Rebecca plans to go to a conservatoire of her choice in the near future to train as a classical singer. The former Queen Elizabeth School, Kirkby Lonsdale, student performed works by Gounod, Verdi, Bellini and Britten which beautifully demonstrated her range and virtuosity. Her winning performance was rewarded with the Reg Griffiths Trophy and a cheque for £1,000.

Four talented local musicians, all between the ages of 16 and 22 years, had won their way through the preliminary round in July at Kendal Town Hall. Runner-up Faye Bowness, a 20-year old singer of Whasset, near Milnthorpe, is a student at York University and was awarded the Geoffrey Blake Trophy and a cheque for £500. Like Rebecca, Faye is a former QES student.

Third place was shared by 22-year old oboist Isabel Kent from Burgh by Sands, Carlisle, a recent graduate of the Trinity Laban Conservatoire, and Helena Sarah Townsend, a 20-year-old mezzo-soprano from Scotby, who's a student at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Each received a cheque for £250.

A distinguished panel of three judges - international concert pianist and Keldwyth Award President Anthony Hewitt (hair), Jo Wood, a professional bassoonist and woodwind teacher, and Ian Jones, the musical director of both Levens and Eversley choirs - had the unenviable task of evaluating the performances of these four fine musicians. Each young performer had 25 minutes to demonstrate their technical skills, musicality , choice of music and their rapport with the audience. After retiring to consider their verdict, panel chairman Anthony Hewitt declared Rebecca Chandler to be a worthy winner.

The preliminary round for the 2020 Keldwyth Cumbrian Young Musicians Award will take place next July. Applicants must be aged between 16 and 22, be born in and or educated in Cumbria and to have reached grade eight standard in music.