2018 Festival

Once again we managed to hold our music festival in spite of various problems this year. Several key members of the committee were unable to help due to illness. If it had not been for those who were prepared to do more than usual, we might not have been able to hold this year’s festival. Matthew Taylor stepped in, and with Olivia’s help, organised the Speech & Drama section. Karen and I looked after the Orchestral section for Tonie – who is making a slow but steady recovery.

In spite of all this, the 2018 festival was a success although the number of entries in some sections has dropped. Where are all the young singers and recorder players? The Piano section was as strong as ever thanks to Shirley and Angelus, while the Orchestral section had some very talented young players.

There were fewer choirs, perhaps due to the early date when schools had less time to prepare. However the Young Musicians’ competition was as outstanding as ever. This year there seemed little to choose between our eight competitors – any one of them could have won. In fact it was the pianist Julia de Luca who was judged the winner. I am sure we will hear more about all of them in the future. The percussionist Jonathan Akerman has gone on to become Havering Young Musician of the Year. Congratulations to him.

There were other outstanding performances during the festival. In Speech & Drama, the Forest Cup for Most Outstanding Performance went to Emily Lawrence and the Dacia Stevens Award was given to Oran Docker. In Piano, Marianna Kapsetaki won the Felix Marr Award. After a very close contest, the Concerto class was won by Gabriella Bavetta – 3 marks separated the top three!
Congratulations go not only to these but also to all who took part.

However the festival does not just take place automatically. It takes months of planning. Jo had already selected our 2019 adjudicators before this year’s festival. The syllabus has to be ready with any changes felt necessary and this, together with dealing with all the entries and the programme, entail hours of work by Hilary. Olivia sorts all the problems, especially with returning cups while reception is in the capable hands of Glenis. Karen organises help from volunteers – we could do with more!

Then there are our official accompanists – Leslie Phillips and Cathy Davies – who are in constant demand. Anna, Tonie, Olivia, Shirley, Matthew and Cathy have the job of checking their sections and trying to improve them. Stella keeps the minutes and helps me when there are problems, while Ron presides over us all and tries to keep us on the straight and narrow!

Then we must thank all the teachers who work so hard to bring their pupils to the high standard we see at the festival. Thanks to all who take part and to the audience for their support. Finally we are very grateful to Forest School and the staff for providing us with such a safe and welcoming venue.

Maureen Westcott
Festival Secretary
01708 731101