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Michael Lowe is the 2016 Welsh Young Musical Theatre Singer of the Year

Michael Lowe, born in Chepstow and a recent graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, is the 2016 Welsh Young Musical Theatre Singer Of The Year. Michael - the 2016 winner of the RWCD Stoutzker Prize for Outstanding Musicianship, and who recently performed as a soloist for HRH the Prince Of Wales at Buckingham Palace - was awarded the prestigious title after a closely fought contest with fellow finalists Dafydd Gape, Jonathan Radford and Rachel Lee Stephens at the Tailiesin Arts Centre in Swansea on Sunday 3 July.

Lowe's award-winning programme in the final included virtuoso performances of songs from Cy Coleman and Michael Stewart's "Barnum", Ivor Novello's "Glamorous Night", Jule Styne and Comden & Green's "Do Re Mi", a song from a new musical for which he has written the music and lyrics - "Columbine" - rounded off with a masterful rendition of "The Music Of The Night" from The Phantom Of the Opera.

The contest was adjudicated by Vivien Care, Clare Hammacott and Michael Morwood while, for the first time in 2016, Audience members voted for an additional "Audience Award", which was won by Rachel Lee Stephens.

The accompanist for all of the contestants' performances was internationally renowned pianist Jeffrey Howard (who was accompanist/arranger for the BBC's "Last Choir Standing" winners Only Men Aloud).

The evening's celebration of musical theatre also included performances of songs by Rodgers and Hammerstein, Meredith Willson, Frank Wildhorn and more by the Dunvant Male Choir (conducted by Jonathan Rogers and accompanied by Tony Phipps). The choir are the founders and organisers of the Welsh Young Musical Theatre Singer Of The Year competition, which was produced in 2016 with the assistance of sponsors The Principality Building Society, Shirgar Welsh Butter, Loud Applause Productions and Dunvant RFC.

Since its inception in 2003, the Welsh Young Musical Theatre Singer Of The Year competition has consistently produced a high standard of performance from its winners and contestants in both finals and preliminary rounds, serving to both promote and celebrate musical theatre in the Land of Song. The impressive list of previous winners of the contest includes Olivier Award winner David Thaxton (Les Miserables, Passion, Love Never Dies), Connie Fisher (They're Playing Our Song, The Sound Of Music), Hayley Gallivan (Wicked, Grease, Spring Awakening), Kit Orton (Tom, Oliver!, Spamalot), Michael Riseley (Les Miserables), Luke McCall (Les Miserables) and 2015 winner Jodi Bird, who returned to the Taliesin stage on the evening of this year's final to delight the audience with performances of songs from "Miss Saigon", "Follies", "Tell Me On A Sunday" and "Funny Girl".

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