WELL-known Lakeland soprano Tracie Penwarden is the new voice within Kendal Millennium Youth Choir.

Singing teacher and concert soloist Tracie steps in to replace Anna Graves and join Linda Graves as the talented choir's co-musical director.

After 14 years of involvement with 'the Milli,' Anna left the Kendal area in the New Year to take up a teaching post in Dorset.

Tracie said that she had been associated with the choir for quite a while having met Linda and Anna at a workshop she put on for Kendal Choral Society five years ago.

She added: "Since then I have been invited to do workshops and I've also conducted several of their concerts. When Anna recently moved it seemed the easiest thing in the world to take over from her.

"The Milli belongs to Linda; she created it and is immensely proud of it. It is the only mixed youth choir for miles around and although she is very musical in her own right, my role is to train the choir to reach its full potential.

"Our primary aim is to raise people's awareness of the choir. We've recently created a new website and we'll be competing for the first time at this year's Mary Wakefield Festival.

"The Milli already has a strong reputation in the area but we want to raise our reputation and standards even higher to increase its appeal to concert organisers and young singers. Several schools locally have excellent choirs and we hope to exploit that talent and provide a fun and friendly atmosphere to perform in. There are no auditions, just a willingness to sing and the commitment to be part of a team."

Tracie is also a partner with husband and choral conductor Ian Allan in the sheet music shop Penwarden Music in Milnthorpe, conducts her own award-winning vocal outfit Ottovoce and is deputy conductor of Arnside Choral Society.

Alongside her choral work Tracie is a regular member of Voices of the North, directed by Jolyon Dodgson, a founder member of The Lakes Ensemble and was a regular soloist with La Serenata ensemble.

Tracie's career as a singer and teacher has been extremely diverse; song and dance roles at the famous Thursford Christmas Spectacular and backing vocals on a commercial CD have gone hand in hand with her career as a lyric soprano and recitalist.

Visit www.themillichoir.com.