A New Star Is Born

What’s On Taunton editor Richard Kitzinger is impressed by the finalists in the Under 18s category of Taunton’s Got Talent

Limelight Theatre
Limelight Theatre

As if it wasn’t daunting enough being the first performer up on the stage in front of the judges, the inaugural Taunton’s Got Talent Under-18s contest was carried off by pianist Eva Collins. The 14 year-old looked totally undaunted as she played Fake Love by Korean boy band, BTS. It was no mean feat. The piece was complex and included sections where the tune was carried by the bottom hand rather than top.

Watching, I felt sure that Eva had been taught classically. Recalling my own teenage piano lessons, I was envious of the grace of her hands. She maintained a poise where she could have held an orange in each hand and still played the notes, a fact even more remarkable when you consider the anger of some passages of the music.

Absolutely Amazing

Pianist Eva Collins
Pianist Eva Collins

Judge Craig Stone commented, “I loved how she looked at us judges as she played. I’m very jealous of anyone who can play like that.” Fellow arbiter, Andrew Knutt from CIC, added, “Eva’s playing was very tight, the piece was so much more complex than her audition. It was absolutely amazing!”

Eva beat off competition from good friend Molly Ascot who played guitar and sang like a young Florence Welch, Lilla Prichard who performed ‘Maybe’ from Broadway musical Annie – a song for a young girl but delivered with great maturity, Jessica Lavender who controlled a low range of notes impressively in singing Emeli Sandé’s ‘Read All About It (Part III) and the youth of Limelight Theatre as the assembled outlaws of Sherwood Forest. Limelight were singing a song from their musical, Robin of the Wood, just hours before their final performance at the Castle, giving all present cause to regret missing out on tickets.

Whilst awaiting the Judges’ verdict, the audience and competitors were treated to a powerful rendition by 2016 Taunton’s Got Talent winner Allana Chloe of Lady Gaga’s ‘Shallow’ from 2018’s cinema hit, A Star Is Born.

They are my inspiration

Winner Eva Collins
Winner Eva Collins

When she collected her winner’s trophy and cash prize of £350 from event organisers Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin, Eva seemed lost for words. A little later on she had regained her composure enough to reveal that she’d been playing the piano for a while but had only recently started taking it seriously since stopping having lessons. “I now feel free to play stuff I want to play,” she said, adding, “BTS are my role models. I played songs by them in the heats and the final. I admire them and think that the stuff they do is amazing. They are in no way controversial and they have worked hard all their lives to get where they are. They all produce music, dance, sing and rap. They have inspired me and helped me a lot.”

Asked whether her family is musical, Eva replies, “Yes. All my siblings still have piano lessons. My mum plays the flute and I can play a little bit of ukulele.” But her greatest influence is still clearly BTS. “They do a lot of work in helping people with mental health issues such as desperation and anxiety. They spread the important message of self-love through their music and they have all been through something like that in their lives. They weren’t born with their careers set out in front of them, they had to work for it. One of the members had depression, so they know what it feels like.”

What will the future hold for Eva? Well, she has a professional shoot with local photographer Christian Silverton as part of her prize but beyond that she is just targeting an International Baccalaureate at college for now. That said, she has got some gigs lined up so keep an eye out for the talented Eva Collins on the Taunton music scene.

All photos copyright Christian Silverton. Thanks to Christian Silverton for allowing us to use his photography. www.christiansilverton.com

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