Courtney Kenny Award 2020

The final of the Courtney Kenny Award 2020 took place at Tonbridge Schoolon Sunday, March 8th.


AESS Chair, Sarah Leonard welcomed the audience and Courtney Kenny was in attendance. He was pleased to be part of such a large and appreciative audience to which the singers could respond.  Five singers and their pianists performed themed recitals of their own devising lasting up to twenty minutes. 

Brian Parsons explained what the judges were looking for in a closely contested competition – choice of materials blended into a unique recital programme, presentational skills, technical skill in speech and song, commitment and engagement.  

The judges awarded the prizes in the following order: 

1st Prize of £1,000 –        Benjamin Reason     GSMD 
Joint 2nd Prize of £500 – Ceferina Penny         RCM
Joint 2nd Prize of £500 – Stephen Whitford     RAM
Pianist’s Prize of £500 –  Avishka Edirisinghe  RCM  

The judges, Jane Highfield, Brian Parsons and Patricia Williams were impressed by the standard of the performances and the imagination used in devising the programmes.

Written feedback has been sent to everyone who has taken part in the competition to help with developing presentatonal skills and artistry. 

The AESS wishes to thank the judges for both the final and the preliminary rounds, the Headteacher, Marie Wallace and the staff of Tonbridge School, and Michael and Judith Hildesley who loaned the use of their studio facilities at Tagg’s Yard. 

The AESS is extremely grateful to Courtney Kenny for his generosity in sponsoring this award. 
Preliminary round judges: Brian Parsons and Jane Roberson 

The Co-ordinator is Stephen Miles: miles.s.j@btinternet.com

The programmes: Joseph Hookway – Tenor                  Amy Laurenson – Piano
States of love from the States
Love in the dictionary            Funk & Wagnall’s Student Dictionary           Dougherty
I send my heart up to thee                                                  Browning           Beach
In a gondola (extract)                                                         Browning
The farmer’s curst wife Anon. Kohn
The crucifixion                                                                   Anon.                  Barber When roses cease to bloom, dear                                     Dickinson
That I did always love                                                         Dickinson           Heggie  

Julia Martins Solomon – Mezzo-soprano                        Maria Urian – Piano
Time will have his fancy
Under the greenwood tree                                                  Shakespeare        Korngold
To the virgins, to make much of time                                Herrick Sweet chance, that lead my steps abroad                        Davies                 Head
I had no time to hate, because                                           Dickinson
A last year’s rose                                                                 Henley                 Quilter As I walked out one evening                                             Auden Song of a nightclub proprietress                                        Betjeman             Dring
Waitin                                                                                   Weinstein             Bolcom Softened by time’s consummate plush                             Dickinson
Red roses and red noses                                                      Berners                 Berners  

Stephen Whitford – Baritone                                         Naoki Toyomura – Piano
Songs of the sea
The estuary                                                                          Pitter                     Head
Crossing the bar                                                                  Tennyson
Sea fever                                                                              Masefield               Ireland
Dover Beach                                                                        Arnold
The boat is chafing                                                              Davidson               Gurney 
The dry salvages                                                                 T.S. Eliot
Come unto these yellow sands                                         Shakespeare           Tippett
Full fathom five                                                                   Shakespeare
Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain                                    Newbolt                 Stanford  

Ceferina Penny – Soprano                                              Avishka Edirisinghe – Piano
Longing
The shawl                                                                             Atkinson                 Hogben
He wishes for the cloths of heaven                                 Yeats
If there were dreams to sell                                              Beddoes                 Ireland
Oh, oh you will be sorry for that word!                           St Vincent Millay
Finish!                                                                                   Wortley Montagu   Dove
Appeal                                                                                  Brontë
Scots song                                                                            Soutar                     MacMillan
Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage                           Shakespeare
Underneath the abject willow                                           Auden                     Britten  

Benjamin Reason – Baritone                                            Jonathan Eyers – Piano
Meditations on virginity
Areyou meditating on virginity?…                                      Shakespeare
It was a lover and his lass                                                    Shakespeare           Finzi
Church bell at night                                                              Anon. 12thC           Barber
Come again, sweet love                                                       Anon. 16thC           Dowland
Wild nights – wild nights!                                                   Dickinson
Now sleeps the crimson petal                                            Tennyson               Quilter
O, fellow, come the song we had last night                      Shakespeare
Come away, death                                                                 Shakespeare           Korngold
The flea                                                                                 Donne
Promiscuity                                                                           Anon. 9thC              Barber
The sprig of thyme                                                                Trad. Lincolnshire Grainger 

The singers, pianists and judges with Chairman, Sarah Leonard and Courtney Kenny

From left: Benjamin Reason, Stephen Whitford, Courtney Kenny, Avishka Edirisinghe, Ceferina Penny