Virgin Soldiers nurture next generation of talent

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A BAND from Sussex and Kent, who have played with the likes of Toploader, Keane and McFly, have put together a fledgling band which they have coached into the final of a talent contest.

Virgin Soldiers is a six-piece acoustic string rock band which was formed by James Beeny.

The band has received national airplay on BBC6 Music with support from Tom Robinson as well as being played on BBC Introducing: The South, BBC Radio Kent and various other local radio and online stations.

The group released a collection of singles this year under the title #Lovestrock and are now planning to release their new EP over the coming winter.

Now James and fellow band member Gina Georgiou, both from Battle, have created a new band, Bows and Arrows, which they are writing songs for and helping with all aspects of their performance.

Bows and Arrows is made up of guitarist and backing vocalist Dan Piper, 16, pianist Oli Jagot, 16, and 15-year-old singer Hannah Richards, who is in her final year at Claverham Community College in Battle.

The name of the band is taken from the town’s links with the 1066 Battle of Hastings.

James and Gina came up with the idea of setting up the new group after being sent a link of Dan Piper playing a medley of Virgin Soldiers’ songs on Youtube.

Now Bows and Arrows have made it through to the grand final of the Performing Arts section of the Tunbridge Wells Fusion Festival and on October 26 they will compete for a £1,000 cash prize at the Assembly Halls in the town.

Virgin Soldiers are playing as guests at the event.

James and Gina said they help the new band with everything from their performance to engaging with each other, the crowd and also the style in which they play their instruments.

James and Gina also write songs for Bows and Arrows and prepare them for live gigs.

James said “We have had a great time working with Bows and Arrows.

“Writing songs for a band with a different sound, and a younger singer has been a great experiment for Gina and me.

“They have been a pleasure to work with and I am pleased that we have been able to help them move forward as a band.

“With less than five gigs under their belts, the Fusion final will be a nerve wracking experience for them, but we are confident that they will put on a great show and we have taught them that whatever happens, the most important thing about playing music is to have fun.”