Electrifying performance wins Next Big Thing 2016

12747337_985828054798101_795281769124614576_oTabitha Templer has become the Next Big Thing 2016, after her virtuoso performance playing the electric violin to a packed house at the Gaiety Theatre thrilled the judges and audience in the grand final of Manx charity Junior Achievement’s talent contest for 10 to 18-year olds.

14-year-old Tabitha, who has been playing the violin since the age of seven but only switched to the electric violin in December 2015, was inspired to enter what was her first talent competition after seeing last year’s show.

A keen ballet dancer as well as an accomplished violinist, Tabitha was presented with the Next Big Thing 2016 trophy and a £500 cash prize sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

Runner-up was Roch Mirski who demonstrated confidence, stagecraft and vocal skills well beyond his 11 years to take away a cash prize of £250 sponsored by Manx Professional and Educational Services Ltd.

15-year-old Lois Mooney, a singer since the age of five, chose to perform the ode to a barista: Taylor the Latte Boy. Her far from decaffeinated version saw her awarded third place and a £150 cash prize sponsored by Hartford Homes.

15 acts performed in the final, which was sponsored by Paragon Recruitment, Zurich International Life and Energy FM, and judged by Junior Achievement chairman Greg Ellison, Paragon Recruitment’s Dean Helm, Zurich International Life’s Merita Taylor and guest judge singer/songwriter Jack Morlen. The former member of EverYoung now turned solo artist performed an opening number, followed by a song from the winner of The Next Big Thing 2015, Jenny Hill.

The People’s Choice award, sponsored by Lloyds Bank and inaugurated in 2015 in memory of youth worker Paul Cooper, who died in 2014 but who, as leader of the Soundcheck project, had been an influential figure in the Next Big Thing since it began, went to the band Hilltop Hallucinations – Luke Campbell, Antony Coward, Jordan Kirk, Nial McCabe-OKelly and Eddie Morris, all of whom are Soundcheck members.

Junior Achievement CEO Sue Cook said: ‘The standard was incredibly high for what was our fifth year of The Next Big Thing. More than 130 artists auditioned and the 15 acts that got through to the final were all fantastic examples of just how much great talent there is here in the Isle of Man. But what’s so inspiring is the tremendous support every one of these young artists receives from their families, friends and coaches throughout their journey to the final. Then, on the night, the audience play a huge part in encouraging the acts to do well, so a big thank you is owed to them, also to our sponsors, volunteers and supporters and the Gaiety Theatre team for making such a memorable evening which we hope will perhaps set some these young performers on their chosen career path.’

Applications for The Next Big Thing 2017 open in September 2016. To find out more follow thenextbigthingisleofman on Facebook or visit www.thenextbigthing.im.

To find out more about Junior Achievement, follow us on Facebook or call us on 666266.