Alice takes her place with Ulster Youth Choir

MUSIC student Alice Cartmill can’t stop smiling - or singing - after winning a place in the celebrated Ulster Youth Choir.

The Banbridge Academy pupil was selected after auditions in March and was doubly honoured by being offered a place directly in the main choir and bypassing its training branch.

“It’s brilliant news; I am so excited about singing with this talented group of singers,” said Alice, who was also a runner-up in this year’s ‘Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year’ competition. “I was quite nervous at the audition even though I’m used to singing at festivals, concerts and a few weddings, but this was different.

“My voice was playing up a bit after all the recent festival work, so I couldn’t believe I got through directly to the main choir. I can’t wait to start singing!”

It has certainly been a busy time for the talented Rathfriland girl, having picked up numerous awards this year at Warrenpoint, Newry and Portadown festivals.

After her AS exams finish she is looking forward to her first outing with the choir at Camlough in August where she will take part in a number of workshops.

It will be part of a packed summer schedule for the Grade 8 singing student who has also been booked privately to sing at weddings - and she has a few sporting fixtures to fit in as well.

The Katherine Jenkins fan - who also plays trumpet and piano - has signed up with Waringstown Ladies and is keen to show her colours on the cricket ground as well as on the stage.

“I was introduced to cricket through the school,” she says, “and I really love it. There aren’t that many opportunities for women cricketers, but the Waringstown club is keen to introduce the game to females and they have a good number who are interested, from 11 year-olds, through to women in their thirties.”

Alice has been singing for as long she can remember and she now concentrates on classical and opera in a wide repertoire which includes songs from the shows.

Coming from a musical family - her mum plays clarinet and her grandmother is closely associated with Banbridge Accordian Orchestra - she is keen to sing professionally some day, but, unlike most other career paths, she will have to wait until her mid to late twenties.

“In classical music, your voice doesn’t fully mature until you are well into your twenties; it is very frustrating,” she says. “At 17, I have a long time to wait, so I’ll have to think of something else to do until then - as well as playing cricket.”