Lisburn youth theatre group pipped at the post on TV show
by JULIE ANN SPENCE
The Fusion cast who appeared on the Don't Stop Believing show on Sunday night
MEMBERS of Fusion Theatre are still walking on sunshine after being placed in the top three on Channel 5's Don't Stop Believing on Sunday evening.
After beating off stiff competition from around 2,000 groups from throughout the UK for the chance to take part in a live show, they performed Walking on Sunshine in front of four celebrity judges and host Emma Bunton.
The youngest group in the heat, they did Lisburn proud, and after coming in the top three in the public vote, had the chance to perform again for the 'wild card'.
The Judges eventually opted tor Belfast-based MT4Uth, the only other Northern Ireland group in the competition, but the Fusion youngsters were heartened by the positive comments from the judges, and in particular Duncan James.
The Fusion performance featured Raymie Walsh and Rebecca Leonard, as well as Bronagh Walsh, Jessica Webb, Heather Vient and Leah Jameson, and another 23 talented youngsters, all performing their hearts out.
The group flew over to the Maidstone studios with their chaperones on Thursday night. They spent the next few days at the studio rehearsing, recording their number for the Don't Stop Believing CD, doing interviews for the Don't Stop Believing website, and recording a 10 minute slot in which they taught viewers a dance extract from their number.
The live performance took place on Sunday in front of an audience about 1000 at the studios, as well as millions at home who tuned in to watch the show.
It was an extremely exciting few days, but the young group held their nerve to the delight and pride of their volunteer supporters.
Anne McCleary (Chairperson) said it was one of the proudest moments of her life when the group made it to the sing-off, even though unfortunately they were beaten to the place at the wild card final.
"It was particularly unfortunate that the only two Northern Ireland groups were in the same heat of the competition, but the young people on stage were overwhelmed by the rapturous support they received in the studio when they came out to perform for the second time'" she said. "Everyone was standing up, applauding, and willing them to pull out all the stops. It was an experience which we will all remember for the rest of our lives."
The group returned home to Lisburn on Monday morning, exhausted but delighted that they had done so well, and thrilled by the support from the public which, despite the competition from another local group, had clearly been enormous.
Anne went on to say that Fusion had been particularly delighted at the support from the readers of the Star, as they had received reports from friends and family left behind, that Lisburn was buzzing with support during the weekend of the performance.
Fusion Theatre would like to thanked everyone for their continuous support, the Vient family and Edenderry Design for printing the many posters and flyers that were given out, and Elwood Brown and the Sewing Machine Centre for supplying t-shirts.