A group of six best friends from St Ninian’s High School have won the Next Big Thing People’s Choice award sponsored by Baker Tilly Isle of Man.
Act Natural – Frankie Cullen, Anna Harris, Freya Morris, Olivia and Tahlia Nicholl-Clarke and Emily Sweetman – received the highest number of votes from the Gaiety Theatre audience out of the 14 finalists on the night of Manx charity Junior Achievement’s talent contest for 10 to 18-year-olds.
The group, who all love music and are members of the school choir wrote ‘Memories’, their first song together, in a school workshop at the end of year seven in memory of Frankie Cullen’s grandmother. They spent their lunchbreaks rehearsing and refining the song, for which they played and recorded the backing track. The Next Big Thing final was the first time they performed in front of an audience.
The People’s Choice award is in memory of Soundcheck youth worker Paul Cooper, one of the Next Big Thing’s earliest supporters.
Junior Achievement’s chief executive Sue Cook said: ‘These six young performers - aged between just 12 and 13 - displayed levels of self-confidence and talent well beyond their years. I’m delighted Act Natural chose to debut their song as their entry for the Next Big Thing. It was a clear crowd pleaser with a touching back story cleverly interpreted into song.
‘We’re very grateful to Baker Tilly Isle of Man for sponsoring the People’s Choice. It’s an award that as well as recognising the tremendous support we had from the late Paul Cooper, provides an opportunity for the audience to get involved in the show and to celebrate even more of the outstanding young talent we have in the Isle of Man.’
Applications for The Next Big Thing 2018 open in September 2017. To find out more follow thenextbigthingisleofman on Facebook or visit thenextbigthing.im.
Junior Achievement is a member of Junior Achievement Europe which works with 31,380 schools, with the help of 116,687 teachers and 164,363 business volunteers to empower 3,454,750 million students across 39 countries.
To find out more about Junior Achievement, visit jaiom.im.
Photo - Act Natural’s Emily Sweetman, Tahlia Nicholl-Clarke, Frankie Cullen, Anna Harris, Olivia Nicholl-Clarke and Freya Morris with, extreme left, Georgia Cooper, daughter of the late Paul Cooper, Natalie Radford of Baker Tilly Isle of Man back row centre, and Junior Achievement’s Alex Day, extreme right. Picture Andrew Barton.