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Futureheads front man to join Gentoo's Genfactor judging panel

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Futureheads front man to join Gentoo's Genfactor judging panel

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Published by LauraMcKinlay for Gentoo Group in Communities and also in Care and Support, Education, Housing

Tom Hawick, Barry Hyde and Dan Tyres (Gentoo) Tom Hawick, Barry Hyde and Dan Tyres (Gentoo)

Barry Hyde, will join Gentoo Group’s Genfactor judging panel this year. The Futureheads front man (vocals and guitar) is from Sunderland and the band met at Sunderland College. 

Organised by Gentoo, the ‘Genfactor’ is a talent competition which gives young, local performers a chance to showcase their talents on the big stage. Now in it’s sixth year  it has gone from strength to strength, over 800 guests packed out the stalls at the Empire last year to cheer on friends and family. The competition has a strong focus on rewarding talent and has helped Gentoo engage with communities in a different way.

Barry Hyde said: “I am delighted to be involved in the Genfactor judging panel because I love seeing new talent emerging and encouraging people to perform. Sunderland is quite a special place when it comes to music and this initiative is a great way for young people to come together to learn new skills, improve confidence and show Sunderland what they’ve got. The Empire is an iconic and beautiful venue that I have never played at - so hopefully they will let me play some songs at some point in the night!” 

Tom Hawick, 14 (pictured) made it to the final last year. He was a solo singer and played acoustic guitar.

Tom said: “I heard about the Genfactor through school and it made me want to perform. The experience was brilliant, we had the first audition and I got through to boot camp and then the finals. Despite not winning through the competition, I did win within my own personal bubble because I got offered a recording session by someone who owns a recording studio in Sunderland. I think it is brilliant how much I got out of the experience and it’s made me grow as a performer. The Genfactor really gave me the confidence to follow my dreams. I really enjoyed the auditions, boot camp and have met some great friends along the way.”

Ian Hawick, (Toms’, Dad) added:  “Having followed my son Tom through last year’s competition it is clear to me that Genfactor not only engages with the wider community it also inspires young people to achieve success, builds their confidence and provides a platform for the development of friendships.”

Gentoo encourages their staff to volunteer to help make a difference in our local communities. From technical support, auditions, judging and coaching a group of staff have been supporting the talented young people of Sunderland. Dan Tyres, Training and Development Advisor, Gentoo (pictured) has been volunteering for the Genfactor for the last four years and has been involved in coaching young singers and musicians, helping them to improve their confidence and learn new skills.

Dan said:  “I have been in my band Risen Prophecy for ten years and have been all over the country learning new skills and tricks. I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to help support young people who have the talent and passion to succeed.”

Over 100 young people have applied for the Genfactor this year and final auditions are taking place next week. Boot camps will then take place over the summer, where acts will battle it out to secure a place in the final. 12 acts will then perform to a panel of judges including Barry Hyde at the Sunderland Empire on Wednesday 19th November.

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