STRING TO HER BOW: Kirsty McLachlan has won one of 25 places on The National Folk Ensemble
STRING TO HER BOW: Kirsty McLachlan has won one of 25 places on The National Folk Ensemble

A TALENTED teen musician has beaten off competition to land a coveted place in the National Youth Folk Ensemble.
Kirsty McLachlan, 16, from Boldron, aspires to become a professional singer and musician. She has performed regularly at open mic nights, regional folk festivals and is a member of Teesdale youth folk group Cream Tees.
And now after attending two virtual auditions during lockdown, she has secured a place on the National Youth Folk Ensemble (NYFE), which is part of the English Folk Dance and Song Society and helps nurture young musicians.
She said: “I remember seeing the NYFE at Sidmouth Festival a few years ago when I was performing in the kids’ tent and I thought ‘wow, they sound great’ and I can’t believe I’ll be playing with them now.”
Miss McLachlan, who is eagerly awaiting her GCSE results and intends to take her A Levels in music at Teesdale School, is skilled on a number of instruments, including violin, ukulele, guitar and piano.
However, she opted to audition playing the acoustic bass.
She added: “I’ve been learning the electric bass for a couple of years and have lessons with Andy Yeadon but decided to use an acoustic bass for the audition because you don’t hear much with electric ones in folk.
“I auditioned for the NYFE last year but didn’t get in.
“The first regional audition was in mid-May and there were about 12 of us auditioning. We had to learn a song by ear and then play to the group.
“There were some people who had a full studio set up and I just had a headphone microphone plugged into the laptop. I ended up bent double, so I could get close to the better microphone.”
For the second audition in July, which again took place online, she was asked to provide a six-minute pre-recorded performance with part done on a second instrument.
“I played a tune, Teesdale Hills, on the violin,” added Miss McLachlan. “And then did the Gilsland Hornpipe on the bass. It’s usually played on Northumbria Pipes and I learned it from Andy in May and I just thought it was a bit of fun.
“I didn’t expect to hear back until mid-August, but it was about a week after the second audition that they let me know I was in.”
As a member of the ensemble, Miss McLachlan will receive expert tuition and guidance from artistic director Sam Partridge and a team of leading folk artists. She will also perform at major festivals and venues around England when coronavirus restrictions are eased.