TAUNTON was alive with sounds of music and voices as the Somerset Song Prize burst into life at the Temple Methodist Hall.

Young classical singers from around the country and abroad were attracted to the 2017 Somerset Song Prize.

They sang their hearts out before a large enthusiastic audience and three distinguished judges - pianist Roger Vingoles, soprano Joan Rodgers CBE and New Zealand baritone Jonathan Lemalu.

Taking the first prize of £1,000 was British tenor Joel Williams supported by pianist Ian Tindale. Runner-up with a prize of £500 was the Estonian soprano Mirjam Mesak whose pianist, the American Michael Sikich, won the £1,000 pianist prize.

Jacob Phillips won the Most Promising Young Singer prize and the English baritone Hugo Herman-Wilson won the £250 Audience Prize which was presented by the Mayor, Councillor Hazel Prior Sankey.

The competition was the inspiration of the late Brian Cresswell and is organised under the aegis of the Taunton Festival of the Arts.

This year marked the third biennial event and 87 singers plus their pianists entered.

The standard was so high and the 2017 competition such a success that organisers are now looking forward to working on the next event in 2019.