A young student from the BAPS Akshar Arts Academy has won first prize in the ‘Spelthorne’s Got Talent’ competition – a borough-wide talent contest.
Param Patel, aged 10, won the prize for his masterful performance of the tabla – an Indian percussion instrument. Param has developed his talent at the Akshar Arts Academy run by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London (popularly known as the ‘Neasden Temple’).
Param has performed at various cultural events in front of thousands of people at the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir. He has also performed at an interfaith music event at the British Museum, and the Language Show in London’s Kensington Olympia. In addition to the tabla, Param also plays the guitar and keyboard.
‘Spelthorne’s Got Talent’ is a borough-wide talent contest open to all ages, endorsed by the Mayor of Spelthorne, Councillor Jean Pinkerton OBE. It is open to singers, dancers, actors, poets, musicians, comedians, artists, magicians and more.
13 finalists from the borough competed at the John Crook Theatre in Shepperton on Friday 22 March 2019. Cllr Pinkerton presented the trophy to Param, who also received a two-hour recording session at Skyline Studios and a tour of Pinewood Studios.The difficult job of picking the winners was given to a panel of judges including Nina Wadia, who have a wealth of experience in theatre, dance, music and acting.
Spelthorne Council’s Arts and Wellbeing Officer, Catherine Learmonth, said, “Spelthorne’s Got Talent has provided an opportunity for local talent to showcase their skills in a professional environment and highlighted an incredible sense of community. The audience were hugely supportive. I would like to thank everyone who donated their time and resources to this project, raising lots of money for charity and giving all the contestants an experience they will remember for years to come.”
Param’s father Hitesh and mother Bhavika, shared, “Param has worked very hard, practising for 30 minutes daily to develop his proficiency. We’re especially grateful for all the guidance and support he’s received from everyone in the Bal-Balika Mandal [children’s forum] at Neasden Mandir. They’ve helped to not only nurture his musical abilities but also his focus in education and just all-round development and confidence. We’re both very proud of the commitment he has shown and the sacrifices he has made to achieve this award.”