The Shirley Malster Award for Oundle Young Singer of the Year

 The award will be presented to the winner of Class V31 provided a mark of at least 87 is achieved. 

Competitors attention is drawn to the Festival Rules, particularly nos. 7 and 8. 

Following the success of the inaugural event won by Leilani Barratt in 2011 we were delighted to continue this competition to encourage young vocalists.

Shirley Burchell (nee Malster) first attended Oundle Festival as a member of her school choir, probably in 1949. In 1957 she entered her first vocal solo class.

Adjudicator Stanley Vann described her as a “singer with promise”. She eventually began training with him singing principal roles in G&S and grand opera.

Since 1976 she has been involved with helping to run this Festival, eventually becoming its Secretary.

After the Centenary celebrations in 2009 Shirley retired from this demanding role, but continues to help and advise  


Oundle Young Singer of the Year was a great confidence boost for me as a very young singer and it was certainly one of the earliest experiences that inspired me to pursue singing professionally.

I went on to study Music at Royal Holloway College where I was a choral scholar and graduated with a First Class Honours Degree. I have since gained a place at The Royal College of Music, where I am continuing my postgraduate studies, and I am gradually building up work in London. Some achievements of which I am most proud include winning The Courtney Kenny Competition in 2016, singing with Opera Holland Park Chorus and performing my first main role in Vaughan Williams’ Riders to the Sea in central London.  

 Oundle Young Singer 2018

George Smith is a sixth form pupil at The King's School in Peterborough, and studies singing with Joe Cornwell in Oundle. 

Alongside his involvement with his school choirs he also sings with the Peterborough Cathedral Youth Choir, The Oundle Consort and St Peter's Church Choir. He is looking forward to his school music tour to Barcelona and another Eton Choral course this summer.

2017 & 2019

Katie Marshall

"The Oundle Festival is such a wonderful and friendly music event and I am thrilled to have won the Shirley Malster award for Oundle Young Singer of the Year. 

The standard of singing is very high at Oundle Festival and it is wonderful to hear and learn from each other along the way in different classes. 

The festival is extremely well run and the high quality and constructive advice of the enthusiastic Adjudicators adds to the experience for the competitors. So much new knowledge can be taken away from the festival and this can only help to improve everyone's technique and musicality for future performances. 

The final Concert at St Peters Church was such a wonderful opportunity to watch other competitors from the festival. I really enjoyed performing the songs at the concert that won me the Young Singer of the Year Award. It was then really special to be presented with my award by Shirley Malster herself. "


Millie Eve

“I was very privileged to have won the Oundle Young Singer of the Year Award in 2016 at the age of 14. Looking back, it is a very fond memory and winning the award gave me confidence going forward with my singing. Since receiving the award, I have performed at many other music festivals, which I have very much enjoyed, and have had the opportunity to sing at various functions and events. 
I hope to continue entering the festival for many years to come and wish all the performers in the celebratory concert tonight the best of luck.”



Anna Maria Muñoz

Anna Maria Muñoz is a British Mezzo-Soprano with Catalan roots. Her vocal training began aged 11 with Faye Hart (previously ENO) and while at Kimbolton School she was very active in choirs, school productions and music competitions. This allowed her to explore repertoire in choral, opera and musical theatre.

2015 was a watershed year when Anna was delighted to win the Oundle Young Singer of the Year Award, successfully auditioned to join National Youth Theatre and had her London debut performing with international concert pianist Panos Karan.
Anna is in her first year at the Royal College of Music. Anna now performs solo pieces on a weekly basis, is an active member of the RCM Chorus and Chamber Choirs and has recently been thrilled to sing in the Royal Festival Hall. Her ambition is to eventually specialise in Opera when she will be able to combine her love of music, song and drama.

 Dani Dixon


Pictured at the Celebration Concert on  April 23rd, 2014.
"I am privileged to have been part of such a prestigious musical event. I have entered the Festival several times as a student at Prince William School and have enjoyed playing in the school String Group, Saxophone Ensemble, Jazz Band and Choir, all of which have entered and won their classes this year.
It is an excellent opportunity for young people to gain experience in performing to an audience and it is a way to discover what other ensembles and school groups are doing.
This year is the first time I have entered the Festival as a soloist and I really valued the experience of performing both in the classes and finally, in St Peters in front of an appreciative and familiar audience. The final concert had such an interesting variety of performers of a very high standard, including a number of students from my own school and others in local areas. I was thrilled to be able to take part in it." 
Nina Bunting-Mitcham
Kathleen McLean

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