One hundred and thirty five years ago a group of musicians met to discuss holding a music festival. They formed a music council of 27 members; only local people could enter the 20 classes and the whole festival took place on a Friday and Saturday in April, during afternoons and evenings.
Now we have a committee of 15 and a festival that lasts for over a week with, at times, three competitions taking place simultaneously.
We have people coming from many areas in and around London and the home counties to enter our 274 classes.
Our festival relies on our committee working hard to ensure success; and yet again we have done it!
Our 2017 festival went very well and we received many congratulations.
Well done to all our competitors.
In particular, congratulations to Rebecca Leung who not only won the Felix Marr award but also won the Young Musicians class, and to Gabriella Bavetta, who won the Concerto class with a score of 95 marks!
Some of our winners go on to win awards from other festivals. Last year’s winner of the Felix Marr award, Miyu Kudo, was nominated by us to take part in The Emmanuel Trophy competition and came second. Rebecca Leung will have the opportunity to enter this competition next year.
The committee wishes to thank so many people for all their help, especially the volunteers without whom we could not run the festival.
We need to thank the people at the church and the school for all their help: staff, cleaners, the people who prepare our meals and many others.
I am sorry to have to report the deaths of two people who have kept the festival alive.
George Birtles will be known to many as someone who won cups for his singing but others may only know him as our former chairman and honorary life member. He worked hard for the festival and we were sorry to hear of his death at the end of last year.
Another loss was Olive Allen who did much to keep the festival going when we had no fixed base and competitions were held in churches, church halls, school halls and even a school gymnasium. We had little resources but somehow Olive found a way to continue and from that the festival has grown to the size it is today.
On a personal note I would like to thank all those who kindly sent me good wishes when I was ill earlier this year. I unfortunately missed most of the festival but, such is the strength of our committee, everything continued as normal.
Thank you to everyone.