I joined the committee of the Stratford & East London Festival in 2016.
The festival was part of my growing up, as I entered singing classes from a young age. I see the value of the festival and, knowing that it is reliant on volunteers, I felt it was time to contribute.
The festival offers a rare chance for competitors of all ages to perform to an audience: a skill that needs practice! The festival also offers professional adjudication and the chance to hear others perform.
After a period of being on the committee but not having a specific job, I felt confident enough to take on the role of convenor for the Choirs, Orchestras & Bands day - and I have to admit that this is my very favourite day. It is such a joy to facilitate all the wonderful groups that come together to sing. It's a magical day, enjoyed by children and adults alike.
I have wide musical tastes, ranging from classical and folk to rock and pop. If I had to pick a favourite composer, it would be Mozart, particularly the operas. As well as singing, I also play the cello in an amateur ensemble and performing with them is pure joy for me, even though I am not much good on the cello yet!
Music has always been my passion. Apparently, I could sing before I could talk! In recent years I have joined the English Chamber Choir, which has added a whole new dimension to my musical life, as we get to sing all sorts of music from Bach to prog rock and from Russian orthodox to pop.
This year, I have inaugurated a new development for the festival. I have offered to be the convenor for a new discipline of Composition. I am very excited to be offering this opportunity to amateur composers of all ages and I very much hope that this new discipline will prove popular. It is going to be a completely online competition and will be judged via Zoom. The festival learnt those tech skills during lockdown, when we ran the 2020 festival completely online.
For anyone thinking of signing up to compete in any of our classes, I would say believe in yourself and go for it. We are here to support you and you will really enjoy participating.
Online entry for all classes is now open - the deadline for entries is 30 December.