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Music at the Belgian Brasserie

The event tied up the last nine months of the programme at the Merton Abby Mills-based café, with months of live acts singing each week. The evening marked the completion and accumulation of the series.

There were a whole nine acts to judge, which were filtered down to the final three contestants. It was a humbling experience to judge the competition, and great to see all nine acts all performing to the best of their ability.

In third place was Miyuki from Japan. Miyuki is 58, has lived in London for 24 years, and has been singing since the age of 10. “I started learning jazz back in 2011 at Richmond College Jazz School. Since then, I have really been into jazz and love it.” Miyuki hopes that the event will help her kick-start singing at gigs again. “I don’t want to say I am too old to have a dream and nothing is impossible. I’d like to start doing gigs again which I stopped for some time due to full time work. I would also like to work on projects in a hope I find interesting and great musicians to work with.”

In second place was 13-year-old Leila who lives in Coulsdon and attends Woodcote High School. “I would love to become involved in musical theatre,” Leila says. “I want to continue to improve my singing and take part in musicals. I am aiming to achieve a good grade in Music and Drama GCSE.”

And the overall winner in first place was Verity. Verity is 17 and has been singing since she was just a child. “I began having singing lessons at the age of four which helped me realise my love for music. I am primarily a classical bassoonist despite being a very keen singer and pianist, so going forward I would love to obtain a place at one of the music conservatoires in London and see where the opportunities there would take me in the future for all areas of my music.”

“My biggest ambition would be to find a way to combine each of my musical interests. I would love to be able to play in a leading professional orchestra, and also continue a successful singing career, as I enjoy them both equally,” she added.

Miyuki added: “This debut open mic program has been amazing and I enjoyed it every month. People in this group are very friendly and lovely people too and I love this little group. I met singer & vocal coach Jenny Green some years ago through music, and since then, she's always been supportive and encouraging to beginners and learners of singing. Thank you Jenny and Yvonne, who owns the Belgian Brasserie!”