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Banking on some local star talent in Leeds


Forget Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden, it's Yorkshire Bank on the lookout for Leeds' talent now - amongst it's own employees. The Bank is launching a search to give its most vocally talented employees the once in a lifetime opportunity to cash in on their singing talent. They'll win the chance to cut their own professionally recorded CD and scoop a cash prize.

As part of its sponsorship of Leeds Grand Theatre, Yorkshire Bank is offering its employees the chance to swap their bank notes for notes of the musical variety by singing their favourite show tune or musical number. The employee who impresses the judges the most will be whisked off to a professional recording studio where they will record their very own CD, take part in a celebrity style photo shoot for the cover and receive a cheque for £500.

'Search for a Star', as the singing competition will be called, follows the massive success of the Bank's initiative 'Opera-tunity Knocks', which was held last year. Opera-tunity Knocks gave Yorkshire Bank employees who emerged as budding opera stars the chance to have professional vocal coaching for five weeks then proudly display their talents by performing before an Opera North performance of Rigoletto at Leeds Grand Theatre.

Janet Myers, Yorkshire Bank's Head of Brand, said: "After the buzz last year's competition created amongst our staff we couldn't wait to start our next venture. We're really eager to start our Search for a Star and we're certain the employees will find it even more exciting than Opera-tunity Knocks.

"We're sure this initiative will provide a great chance for employees to get involved in our sponsorship and we hope they will gain a better insight into how Yorkshire Bank contributes to the communities in which it operates.

"We have employees spread across 191 branches, right across the North of England and the Midlands and we'd love for them all to get involved from branch counter staff in Birmingham, to head office in Leeds.  Last year we even had our head of retail banking, Gary Lumby, dressed up as Elvis, so I can't wait to see what this year brings!"

The Search for a Star initiative is part of the ongoing successful partnership between Yorkshire Bank and Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera North. Yorkshire Bank is the largest corporate donor of Leeds Grand Theatre's multi-million pound restoration project - Transformation - which created a permanent home for Opera North during Phase 1 of the works.  Huge technical and aesthetic improvements have been made both behind the scenes at The Grand and front of house in the Yorkshire Bank Auditorium.

Yorkshire Bank employees in Leeds can enter simply by recording themselves singing a show tune and send it in on a cassette, VHS, CD, DVD, or video from their mobile phone. The judges will then shortlist ten finalists from the clips sent in who'll be invited to an audition in Leeds in September where a professional camera crew will capture the events.

A DVD of the finalists 'greatest hits' will be sent to all Yorkshire Bank offices and branches so Bank employees can have a say in which singer or group gets their vote. And in true 'Britain's Got Talent' style, the votes will be counted and verified and a potential star will be born!

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