Clubbing together to find the best

Hundreds gathered to celebrate the best club entertainers in the Midlands at a special awards ceremony.

Clubbing together to find the best

wd3148471singers-9-sl-27.jpgHundreds gathered to celebrate the best club entertainers in the Midlands at a special awards ceremony.

Almost 300 people were at the Saddlers Club, Walsall, for the South Staffordshire Entertainment Council 2008 Award Show.

Johanna Rose, aged 41, of Telford, top female vocalist at last night's Express & Star sponsored event, captivated the audience with Whitney Houston's One moment in Time.

The mother-of-five won best newcomer in 2003 and, having battled back from a collapsed lung after a bout of pluracy at the start of 2008, her performance set the tone for the evening. Derek Anson, 58, of King Street Club, Walsall Wood, said: "All the winners are very talented. Johanna has a good personality which comes over very well.

"It is not just about singing but how you come across."

West Midlands club venues voted for favourite acts who performed for about 30 minutes before accepting their awards. Father-of-two Ivan Jones, 40, of Wednesbury, received the best male vocalist accolade.

The long standing member of South Staffs awards has won the title a number of times before. Among his fans was Pam Lloyd, 62, of Willenhall Liberal Club. She said: "They are all very good acts and deserve to win the awards. But Ivan is my favourite."

Friend Sue Lunt, 62 today, added: "He is a brilliant singer and deserves this recognition." Best speciality act went to The Black Country Boys – Tony Hughes, 36, of Walsall, and Paul Freeman, 56, of Halesowen, who have become a hit with a mix of music and comedy.

Telford singer Ally Raye, who has been tipped as one to keep an eye on for the future was awarded the best newcomer prize. Tipton couple Linzi Kesterton, 23, and Stephen Cadman, 27, of 2-Xtreme won Best Duo in the South Staffs award for the second year in a row. Best Group was Back-In-Time with their 60s and 70s sounds.

The band consist of singer Tim Rowbathan, 51, of Aldridge; keyboard player Richard Withnall, 35, of Wednesbury; drummer Timothy Walder, 40, of Patherton and guitarists Mick Thacker, 58, of Burntwood, Barry Jasper, 53, of Bilston, and soundman Andy Bird, 36, of Walsall.

There was a presentation for Ray Thornton, 81, of Walsall, in recognition of his services in keeping the club scene going over the years.

Club secretary and treasurer Jack Stain said: "They are all worthy winners and are great performers which you can see by the turnout."

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