Winners of a Young Musician Bursary awarded by a local choir are set to perform at their first concert next weekend.

Workington community choir, the Carnegie Singers, set up the award as part of a year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary, which started in September 2023 and runs until July 2024.

The group, which has performed regularly in the town over its history, including at this year’s Christmas Light Switch-On, is keen to provide opportunities to young musicians from the local area.

Shane Smith, 15, who plays the piano, was the winner of the major award, receiving a bursary of £200. He will perform with the Carnegie Singers at their Christmas concert on December 10, accompanying them for A Coventry Carol before performing a solo piece called Experience by Ludovico Einaudi.

Two other young pianists - Curtis Wright, 17, and Kwe Ogolo-Cork, 13 - received a bursary of £50 each and will also be performing solos on December 10.

A second round is now open to offer a young, local instrumentalist the opportunity of having a piece of music composed for them to perform in the choir’s anniversary concert, where they will be accompanied by a string quartet, the Carnegie Singers and Victoria Junior School choir.

Chairman, David Jones, said: "There are many young people interested in music locally, but not many get the chance to perform outside of occasional school concerts. We wanted to provide an opportunity to play in front of a paying audience, both as a soloist and as accompanist to the choir."

Musical director, Stephen Hunter, added: "The standard was really high in the auditions and we’re delighted to have Shane, Curtis and Kwe join us for our popular Christmas concert.

"Hopefully this will be the first of many years of offering this bursary. The choir is extremely grateful for the generous support provided by Allerdale GDF, the Rotary Club of Workington and the Rotary Club of Workington Derwent towards this exciting new project."

The Carnegie Singers, along with Shane, Curtis and Kwe, will be performing at Christ Central Church in Workington on Sunday, December 10.