THIS year saw a new category being added to the 90-year-old Portsmouth Music Festival.
Contemporary vocals, which was headed by Dielle Lodrick, was introduced this year.
Singing styles on the day ranged from rock, pop, R&B to modern folk.
Dielle said: ‘The section was introduced because I felt there were a lot of singers in Portsmouth of all ages who would benefit from the process you get from the music festival.
‘A lot of people felt the categories we had in the festival didn’t cater for a contemporary style.
‘In this category people can have backing tracks, which again you don’t have in the classical vocal groups.’
Each participant sang one song for each category, before an adjudicator gave a critique on their performance. ‘It was really encouraging to see people explore the techniques of modern singing,’ said Dielle.
‘I was gobsmacked by the standard of singing delivered by some of the entrants.
‘It was so breathtaking to hear people so young being able to sing the way they did. In particular Lois Bibbins and Laura Banks really stood out.’
Laura, 17, of Uplands Crescent, Fareham, said: ‘I sang Hurt by Christina Aguilera because I have always liked it and I thought I would give it a go.
‘I was surprised at how people reacted when they heard me sing, they really enjoyed the performance. Most people get nervous before they go on stage, but I don’t.
‘I get nervous after I have performed because then you have to wait and see what people thought about your voice.
‘I was glad to win the Nelson Cup and it’s a great personal achievement. My mum encouraged me to take part in the festival so I can get experience singing in front of an audience.’
Laura, who attends South Downs College, College Road, Waterlooville, hopes to become a star in musical theatre.
She is currently applying to performing arts schools and hopes to start in September this year.