Talented young pianists from Ripon Grammar School shine at Harrogate Music Festival

Three talented young Ripon Grammar School pianists shone when they took part in their first major competitive music festival.

By Lucy Chappell
Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:09 pm
Updated Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:10 pm

Keanu Wong and William Renton won the open sonata and the Year 8-and-under categories, while Will Bellaries came second in the Year 10-and-under category at Harrogate’s Competitive Music Festival.

Katie Bell, piano teacher at Ripon Grammar School, said: “It was a first-time experience for all three boys, and they performed brilliantly.

“Despite the pandemic, they have worked above and beyond for me.

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Keanu Wong, Will Bellaries and William Renton from Ripon Grammar School all picked up awards at the Harrogate Competitive Music Festival

"Their focus has been exemplary and I am so very proud of them and am excited about their future musical conquests.”

Grade 8 student Keanu, 14, from Ripon, who enjoys coding club at Ripon Grammar School and hopes to work in computer technology one day, said: “Apart from piano lessons in school, I haven’t done much other music.

"I hope to play more pieces which impress people, and one day be able to play music just by sight-seeing or improvising.”

William, 13, from Kirkby Malzeard, who plans to study medicine is a keen member of the school’s STEM club, said he hopes to learn to play piano to a good enough standard to perform interesting pieces at private and other events one day.

Will, 14, from Sawley, also plans to study medicine and plays percussion in the schools wind band and chamber orchestra.

He said: “I hope to achieve grade 8 in piano and start learning some of the pieces I've wanted to learn since I was young, and perhaps do more public performing.”

Ms Bell added that William, who started with her in year seven, was up against ten others in his class: “He works extremely hard, gaining his grade two in under a year with a whopping 96 per cent, and is progressing very quickly.”

Will, who was up against nine others in the competition, began playing with Ms Bell in September.

She said: “He has worked unbelievably quickly and is about to take grade five."

Keanu won the open sonata class, up against three others, playing Mozart.

Ms Bell added: “I decided to broaden his repertoire and focus on the competition as he had never entered one before.”