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Norfolk singers to get their moment of fame on national TV

PUBLISHED: 10:00 15 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:28 02 July 2010

Shani Cantor, Kellie Browne, Jessica Whyte who all appear on  Popstar to Opera Star on Friday.

Shani Cantor, Kellie Browne, Jessica Whyte who all appear on Popstar to Opera Star on Friday.

Kim Briscoe

An orthodontic technician is among Norfolk singers who will get their 15 seconds of fame when a new reality television show is aired tonight.

An orthodontic technician is among Norfolk singers who will get their 15 seconds of fame when a new reality television show is aired tonight.

ITV's Pop Star to Opera Star will feature singers from the world of pop attempting to transform their voices and master the art of opera.

However, 30 Norfolk people will also be gracing the small screen in Anglian Home Improvements' sponsorship title, which will be aired before each programme and in-between all commercial breaks.

Among them is 33-year-old Huw Jones, from Easton, who is a highly-skilled orthodontic technician in the oral health laboratory at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and a member of the North Norfolk Chamber Opera group.

In December, Anglian Home Improvements set up an audition for local talent to sing in their own, unique 'operatic style' for the sponsorship titles.

The auditions which were held in Norwich over a two-day period asked local singers to perform an operatic song for the chance to be featured.

Mr Jones, whose passion for opera began three years ago when he went to see a production by the Glyndebourne Opera, said: "I enjoy my job but I think everyone should have a dream.

"Mine is to perform on that stage at Covent Garden just once in my life!"

City College Norwich students Jessica Whyte, Kellie Browne and Shani Cantor made the final cut after being encouraged to audition by a tutor on their BTEC National Diploma in musical theatre course.

Jessica, 17, a former Notre Dame High School pupil from Duke Road, Gorleston, said: “I'm excited but really nervous about what's going to be shown and that it sounds all right.

“We were given some songs which they wanted to be used within the show and we just learnt them and recorded a few different bits.”

Jessica, who will soon be auditioning for stage schools in London, said her singing teacher in particular was looking forward to seeing the clips, as his old student is Myleene Klass, who is one of the show's hosts along with Alan Titchmarsh.

Former Attleborough High student Kellie, 18, from Besthorpe Road, Attleborough, said: “I'm really happy about it and really excited - even if it is only 15 seconds.”

Also appearing in the short clips during the first two weeks are Glenn Bramley, Harriet Birchall, Katie Hewson, 17, a Norwich High School for Girls pupil from Beetley, Marion Jackson and Sian Abrahams.

Melanie Russell, from Anglian Home Improvements, said: “The carefully selected local singers, who feature in the sponsorship titles, had to be able to hold a tune, entertain and have a certain presence.”

With the help of soprano Katherine Jenkins and tenor Rolando Villazon, the eight singers vying to become an opera star include Coronation Street star Kym Marsh and McFly singer Danny Jones.

Do you have a quirky story for the Evening News? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk.

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