GEORGE Shrapnell is another Southampton success story.

In an occasional series, Rosalind Fountain speaks to him about making his way in music.

Q) You are one of Mayflower Youth Theatre’s success stories, but it’s been a step by step progression. Tell us about that journey.

A) When I was seven years old I started to play piano as a hobby, then aged ten I took up singing and joined Hampshire County Chilldren’s Choir, followed by the county youth choir, which led to the National Children’s Choir of Great Britain. At 12, I started learning the saxophone, then clarinet and flute, and joined the Hampshire Youth Wind Ensemble. When I was 13, I decided that I would make music my career.

Q) That’s quite a list, so you must have performed at some interesting venues.

A) I’ve performed at the Royal Albert Hall twice, once for BBC Proms, also at Southampton Guildhall, the Berry Theatre, Winchester Theatre Royal, Winchester Cathedral, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and many times at Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre.

Q) Mayflower Theatre is known for superb youth productions and many young performers have started their careers there.

A) I was lucky enough to play lead roles every year in Mayflower Summer Youth projects, including Dandy Dan in Bugsy Malone, Mr Bumble in Oliver!, and my favourite role, Major General in Pirates of Penzance. Singing the character’s iconic song which has hundreds of words proved challenging, but was great fun. I owe a lot to Mayflower Theatre and their continued support.Without them I don’t think I’d be doing half the things I do, and I’ll always be grateful to Michael Ockwell and his team.

Q) Where are you at present?

A) I am studying at Goldsmith’s College. I’ve just transcribed, arranged and orchestrated the music of Labi Siffre for a brand new musical Something Inside So Strong. It was an honour to meet and perform for him. I’ll be playing for various musicals throughout summer, and will be assisting the musical director of Mayflower Summer Youth Project - it’s a thrill to be part of the creative team.

Q) So you’re well on your way to your dream career.

A) I’d like a varied and diverse career, including conducting, playing in the orchestra pits in the West End, musical directing, and maybe a cruise ship contract. I believe you should never turn down something that might lead to greater things or add another string to your bow.

Q) In your rare free moments do you have any other interests or hobbies?

A) I’m very interested in railways and steam trains. I have my own miniature steam locomotive and I volunteer at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway. Camping is another great way to relax and there are some lovely sites in the south.

Q) Finally, where can we look you up and find more about your work?

A) My website -