A YOUNG musician’s singing career has reached a crescendo after being awarded a prestigious scholarship by one of the region’s leading academies.

Schoolboy Dan Cooper will be mentored by Elena Larkin, a vocal coach at the Mick Donnelly Academy, as part of a scheme to support and fine tune local talent.

The 12-year-old pupil at St Hild’s Primary School, Hartlepool, has been singing for the past three years and already enjoyed considerable success, including performing in the West End with Stockton Performing Arts Society, on CBBC and auditioning for Jayne Eyre at Billingham Forum.

“I started singing along to music videos and people said I had a good voice,” said Dan. “Now I love performing in front of people so the scholarship is a real privilege that will help me develop.

“I was first on at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London, which was nerve-racking but was an experience to remember.”

Elena specialises in the Seth Riggs singing technique, widely used in the music industry as it helps the voice develop without damaging vocal chords.

She said: “Dan was very shy at first but has grown into lovely, confident person, who is hard working and we are very proud of him.”

Mick Donnelly, who founded MDA in the Hartlepool Enterprise Centre 20 months ago, said: “I have never seen anyone improve so much in so little time, which is all down to him and his enthusiasm. We are delighted to offer him a scholarship which he richly deserves.”

MDA is a hub for the London College of Music examinations and provides tuition for musicians, who make the most of its six studios, café, library, IT room and instrument, accessories and record shop.

It also stages fundraising jamborees in pubs and eateries across the town to finance the scholarships.

The next event will be staged on December 20 at The Jackson’s Wharfe when MDA pupils and tutors will present an evening of Christmas carols.

“This is an event to raise money for musical scholarships and bursaries for young people in the Hartlepool area who wish to start instrumental or vocal lessons,” said Mick, a regular backing saxophonist for Lisa Stanfield.

Entry is free but there will be fundraising activities throughout the evening. For more information contact (01429) 892079 or 07888 754479, emailmdamusic@outlook.com, or visit www.mdamusic.com.