2019 Festival

So, yet again, our festival was a success; a reward for all the planning and work by the committee, friends and volunteers.

That being said, each year we face fresh challenges. This year’s challenges were differing dates for local schools’ half-terms, and parking. However, with the help of the schools involved, both issues were resolved and thanks are due to all those that helped us find solutions.

There were so many great performances – too many to mention them all – from 5-year-old pianists to 95-year-old singers. However I will pick out a few…

The Millennium classes demand examples of three disciplines. The under 10 years class was won by Tristan Law with performances on piano, violin and with voice.

The Concerto class attracted 12 entries and all were outstanding. The winner by just a mark was Gabriella Bavetta. Well done to everyone.

The Young Musicians evening was as amazing as ever. We began with performances by winners in the Speech and Drama section: Rajiv Panther won the Forest Cup for the most outstanding performance in Drama; and the Dacia Stephens Cup for the most promising Performer in Drama was awarded to Gamalini Kantharupan, who gave us an excerpt as the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The cat theme continued in a duet by Olivia Burren and Jo Wheeldon – Dueto Buffo Di Due Gatti (the Cats’ Chorus) by Rossini.

Then it was time for the Young Musicians’ competition itself. Once again, the eight young people chosen were so outstanding that it was impossible for the audience to decide the winner. That task fell to our adjudicator, Eileen Field, who declared our Young Musician of 2019 to be the recorder player Zoe Webb. Zoe has entered the festival for some years and it was fitting that she should win in her last competition before going to university. We wish her the best of luck.

A great deal of planning goes into the preparation for the festival. Adjudicators are booked well in advance – thank you, Jo! Convenors have to update each section and Hilary then has the demanding job of preparing the syllabus for print and online. After a short break, cups need to be recalled – Olivia has problems moving around her home as every surface seems to hold a trophy, and many of them then need cleaning. Hilary receives the entries – over 700 this year – and these have to be made into a timetable for each section. Finally, on the weekend before the festival, the committee help prepare notices, rooms, etc. Plus there are numerous other things needing attention throughout the year.

We are so lucky to have such a dedicated group of people on our committee. And thanks are also due to Forest School for providing so much to help us.

Maureen Westcott
Festival Secretary
01708 731101