Giggleswick School guitarist George Collins is tuned to success after triumphing in a string of musical contests.
Talented George, 17, strummed his way to first prize in a prestigious regional music competition, just weeks after being awarded an international scholarship and also coming fourth in a global guitar contest.
George, who has just finished his lower sixth year, came first in the Pendle Young Musicians Bursary competition at Colne Municipal theatre, where he was the youngest of four finalists. He has won a share in a prize fund valued at £18,000 aimed at helping winners to continue their musical studies. As part of the prize package he will receive mentoring from renowned composer Simon Parkin and have opportunities to work with Manchester Camerata.
The victory comes hot on the heels of a fourth place in the international Lee Ritenours Six String Theory guitar competition, where he competed in the rhythm guitar section against entrants from 182 countries.
This summer, George will head for the world-renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA, which has offered him a merit scholarship for a summer course.
Said George “I’m delighted. It’s been a very exciting time. I’m looking forward to the Berklee course and to furthering my musical education with the Pendle Young Musicians Bursary.”
George attends Leeds College of Music on Saturdays and performs most weekends, either as a solo acoustic or with his band Shrymp inc., featuring two other former Giggleswick pupils, Will Collins and Wil Richmond. Last year he played to the queues at Carfest South and he has also performed at Leeds Waterfront Festival, the VW Festival at Harewood House and the legendary Cavern Club.
George said “I fell in love with the guitar thanks to an inspirational instrument teacher, Neil C Young, who taught at Giggleswick School. He allowed me to play my own thing and encouraged me to develop my own musical style while improving my skills. School has been a great support for me, allowing me to attend the Leeds College of Music and catch up on missed work as well as providing opportunities to perform when I was younger.”
George’s mum, Gill, also paid tribute to Giggleswick’s head of instrumental music, Laura Stott, who has supported George throughout his time at the school.
Gill said “She is the person at school who really nurtures the musicians and gets them over the teenage hurdles!
“Giggleswick has enabled George to follow his passion, especially helping him create the time for his music and in the early days giving him the platform to perform. George has also been incredibly fortunate that he can take ‘minority’ subjects. A level Music and A level Music Technology are sadly not offered in a lot of schools.”
George also plays the saxophone and in addition to his music subjects is taking design for A level. For GCSE Design he built a guitar amp and for his EPQ – an independent project to support his A level studies – he built a guitar.
Laura said "I’m super proud! When George won the Pendle competition it was another one of those amazing teaching moments for me too – and yes I did cry!”