Photos: Rockers take 2014 Grab talent title

Rock and roll high school kids Fret 64 brought the house down to win the 2014 Grab title, the Ribble Valley’s inter-schools talent show.

Sunday, 16th February 2014, 3:00 pm
The Grand in Clitheroe holds its 2014 GRAB high schools talent contest final. Photo: Kristien Cooper

The five music-mad lads from Bowland High – who only got together as a five-piece band last summer – wowed the sell-out crowd at Clitheroe’s Grand Theatre with their cover of The Foo Fighters’ rock classic Times Like These, to land the £800 first prize.

Lead singer, 15-year-old Tom Bamber, said: “This is a dream come true, we can’t believe it.

“We are all massive fans of Dave Grohl and The Foo Fighters, so to win Grab with one of their songs was extra special. All the acts were incredible – but it hasn’t sunk in yet that we have won Grab.”

The Grand in Clitheroe holds its 2014 GRAB high schools talent contest final. Photo: Kristien Cooper

Bamber, John Taylor, Matt Popham, Jonny Douglas and Jamie Crane, all in their final year at Bowland, had only played a handful of gigs – including a show for the Girl Guides at Clitheroe’s Waddow Hall.

“We are aiming to stay together for the next few years, and maybe play professionally one day,” added Tom.

Grab judge Andy Bell, guitarist in London pop group Malokai, told Fret 64, “You guys were ridiculously good – I’ve just seen the next Beatles.”

He added: “Fret 64 have a huge sound, and they also have a big future.”

Acoustic guitarist Beth Ferguson, who performed her own song Fly Away, was Grab 2014 runner-up.

The 14-year-old singer-songwriter, also from Bowland High School, said: “I’ve been playing the guitar since I was eight and I’m part of the Be My Band project at The Grand.”

Grab judge Emma Walker, who was generous in her praise for Beth’s “special talent”, said: “Beth has a great authority on stage – and it is like she was born to do it.”

Ami Jorgensen, who sang the theme tune from the James Bond movie Skyfall, carried off the third prize. The 15-year-old, who attends Ribblesdale High School, said: “I’ve loved singing since I was a little girl and my dream is to perform on Broadway.”

Singer Breanna Howard, from St Augustine’s High School, Billington, was fourth. Last year’s champion, pianist Lizzie Burgess, also proved a hit with the packed auditorium as she returned to The Grand to sing 12 months after lifting the big prize.

The audience also saw the first screening of a new documentary film, Rights of a Child, showing how the Grand’s Solomon Project charity is saving lives in Africa.

Steven Lancaster, The Grand’s director, said: “Grab raises vital funds for the Solomon Project and helps feed thousands of children every day.”

He added: “Every Grab act was a worthy winner – they all had a special talent. It was inspiring to see so much performing talent from the Ribble Valley and every year the bar seems to be raised higher.”

Steered by the Grand’s High School forum members, with support from venue and school’s staff, Grab 2014 will see charities, The British Heart Foundation, Clitheroe Foodbank and The Solomon Project, all benefit from money raised by the event. Grab was sponsored by Family Care Associates.

“Grab” is short for Grammar, Ribblesdale, Augustine’s and Bowland – the four Ribble Valley High Schools which compete in the annual talent contest staged by The Crand, Clitheroe’s state-of-the-art music and performing arts centre.