We had a marvellous day on Monday 6 February. In the morning, St Mary's Church was absolutely packed and we had a great atmosphere.
In particular, there was great excitement around Class 209: Junior Choir (11 yrs and under). Six schools had entered and the competition was stiff.
St Aubyn's won the class and carried off the Daisy Wykes Cup. They were awarded "Distinction" for their beautiful "Maybe" by Lin Marsh and their rousing "Cape Cod Chanty".
Throughout the morning, we had choir, recorder, string orchestra and jazz band classes and the standard throughout was astonishingly good, thanks to the brilliant training by the music directors.
Schools that entered this year included Avon House, Oaklands, Woodford Green Preparatory School, St Aubyn's and Mead.
In the evening, it was the turn of the youth choirs and adult choirs.
Modality Youth Choir took part in our festival for the tenth year running, and won the Radio Basildon Cup (11 to 16 years) and the Challenge Cup (18 years and under). Their Bond medley, arranged by choir director, Jenny Ewington, went down a storm.
Modality Adult Choir also took home two trophies, winning the Holland Young Associates Cup for the Amateur Choir (free choice) class and the Sir JB Slade JP Cup for the Amateur Choir (contemporary repertoire) class.
The Woodford Singers were again in wonderful form at this year's festival. With their director, Kathleen Savage, they prepared six songs, and presented them with their usual panache.
They were awarded "Distinction" by the adjudicator for two classes, and they gained "Outstanding" with their beautiful renditions of Cantique de Jean Racine by Faure and Tundra by Gjeilo. They also carried off the prestigious Throne Challenge Cup.
All Saints Church Choir, led by director Bill Cumber, gave a delightful rendition of John Rutter's "Look at the World", followed by "Do not be Afraid" by Philip Stopford. Stella Redburn was praised for her soprano solo. The adjudicator commended them for the worshipful atmosphere they created, and awarded them awarded them a high "Distinction" mark.
Bluebirds Choir participated in the festival again this year. Under their director, Cathy Edkins, they entered four classes and delighted the packed auditorium with their brilliant performances.
They were placed first in two of their classes. They won the Clarnico Cup for "And So It Goes" by Joel and "Candlelight Carol" by Rutter, and they won the Simkins Family Trophy for a class that was new to the festival this year - the Christmas In February class, for which they sang "Bethlehem" by Schonberg and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" by Martin/ Blane. Their dazzling performance in that class earned them "Outstanding" from the adjudicator.
Upbeat Wanstead are a new community choir formed by Penny Manser, who is also the director of music at St Aubyn's School.
They entered two classes in this year's festival and delighted the large audience with their songs. They gave a charming performance of the folk song "Pleasant and Delightful" and a medley of songs from "Oliver". They also sang two lovely carols for "Christmas In February" class, which proved very popular with the adult choirs.
Our adjudicator this year was Nancy Litten, who had the difficult job of choosing between excellent entries and who always gave helpful, encouraging advice.
Convenor, Choirs, Orchestras & Bands