RE:VERB were crowned Jack Petchey Glee Club Challenge Champions 2017 at the Grand Final held at London’s Indigo at The O2 Arena on Sunday 19th March, walking away with a £2500 prize. Tickets were sold out within 10 hours, so the young people had to perform in front of 1,500 people as well as celebrity judges: West End performers John Partridge; Daniel Boys, Simon Lipkin; Brenda Edwards also an X-factor finalist; EastEnders star, Danny-Boy Hatchard; and Brenda Emmanus, BBC Entertainment Correspondent.
The Jack Petchey Glee Club Challenge, now in its sixth year, is the largest Glee competition in the UK with over 650 young people taking part this year. Groups shortlisted competed in regional finals and also took part in boot camps. At the Grand Final a total of £5,000 was given away in prizes.
Aged 11 to 18, RE:VERB are an 11 piece acoustic vocal group hailing from Stanford-le-Hope, Essex. The popular group had already clocked up over 100,000 views online.
Second place went to Young & Talented from Bethnal Green winning £1,250. Third was Epping’s Academy Unlimited with a prize of £750. The Artistic Team prize went to Tomorrow’s Talent based in Chelmsford. This was awarded to the group that the artistic coaching team felt has made the most artistic, personal and team progress throughout the programme.
John Partridge, Head Judge, currently starring in La Cage Aux Folles said “It’s been another exceptional Glee Club Challenge Final and I am always in awe and inspired but these young people. It really gets better and better this event, and it really was very difficult for us tonight.”
RE-VERB stole the show with stunning performances of an Ed Sheeran medley and a Chaka Khan/ En Vogue mash up. Ruti, one of the young performers in RE:VERB said “It’s amazing to win actually, I don’t know what to say really! I just feel really proud of everyone; we’ve worked really hard for this. I’m just so proud of every single person in this crew.”
Thirty-two groups were selected after groups submitted videos to compete in Regional Finals. Prior to these they went through Boot Camps where they were put through their paces by industry professionals in performance, vocals and choreography.
EastEnders star, Danny-Boy Hatchard said “I think it’s important that we have people like Jack Petchey who come forward and invest in the younger generation. If it wasn’t for him and the Jack Petchey Theatre Challenge, I wouldn’t have been given the opportunities I’ve had so it’s lovely to see him continue to do such fantastic work and strive to inspire young individuals.
I know in my head and my heart that I will work with some of these incredibly talented young people in the future. And If they don’t succeed in the arts, I am confident they will all succeed somewhere else because of what they’ve managed to achieve over such a short period of time, it’s really inspiring stuff. I hope I’ll be invited to come back next year because it’s truly the highlight."
Brenda Edwards said “I think it’s great that they get two songs, so you can see the two different flavours that they do. The second act was a tough one. It was nice to see the messages, the strong, positive messages which really touched me and I felt goose pimples for a couple of the numbers so. They’re the future and that’s very important.”
BBC entertainment correspondent, Brenda Emmanus added “It’s like the level has gone up again. The camaraderie, the collaboration, the extraordinary choreography, they have excelled themselves this year. The team spirit was just so addictive. It makes you proud and it gives you such faith in the next generation of entertainers. Art is so important and it’s not just about the singing and dancing, you can see it’s the teamwork, it’s the spirit, it’s that they won’t be on the streets doing nothing, they’re gonna have ambition they’re gonna be focused. All those things are very important and I think it’s just a great competition.”
Sir Jack Petchey, aged 91, said “It is right that we should invest in our youth in this way. It is right that we encourage and nurture them to grow their talents – whatever those talents may be. It is also right that we make sure they have as much fun as possible on the way! After all, it is our young people who will lead, inspire and influence how the world develops. Let’s invest in them NOW!”
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