Thursday, 29 March 2018

2018 HARROGATE COMPETITIVE FESTIVAL REPORT

 

I am delighted to report that against all the odds and despite the dreadful weather, the Harrogate Festival went ahead as planned and was a huge success! That said I cannot pretend that the Festival Committee did not have some very anxious moments the day before the event was due to begin!  We even had a few contingency plans up our sleeves in case Adjudicators were unable to make it.  However, they were all very determined people and braved the weather and arrived on time, which was a great relief to us all!  Most of the Festival Stewards and Scribes also managed to turn up for duty, which was testament to the commitment and resilience of our wonderful team of volunteers in Harrogate.  Our thanks also goes to the team of staff at Harrogate High School. It was our second year at this venue and they did their utmost to make the Festival run as smoothly as possible. The Caretakers worked so hard to ensure the car parks and entrances to the school were clear of snow and ice - thanks to them we had no accidents!

 

Entries were slightly up on last year, although there were a few 'no shows' from people who lived in more remote parts of Yorkshire where the snow was particularly bad.  We were due a visit from our new Regional Rep (Jill Wright) but as she lives in Skipton (one of the worst hit areas,) it would not have been advisable for her to run the risk of getting stuck in the snow and in the end she cancelled.

 

On the Monday following the first weekend we ran our special needs class (formerly known as 'Music for Fun' but now renamed 'Music and Drama for Fun'). Henshaws School for the Blind entered a small group for the first time and regaled us all with various musical styles including a 'punk rock' song! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

 

On the second weekend of the Festival we were given some respite from the appalling weather, but on the final weekend the snow returned again with a vengeance.  Harrogate was lucky enough to escape the worst, but outlying areas were hit hard and Lindley Community Choir (after much agonizing) had to withdraw as they were 'snowed in' - it was a huge disappointment to them.

 

Our Final Concert took place on the last Sunday evening in the Main Hall of the school. Our two Adjudicators that weekend (Andrew Padmore and Jacqui Edwards) were joined by Marilynne Davies who all had the unenviable job of choosing the winner of The Young Musician of the Festival. In the end their decision was unanimous and it was the young pianist Yuan Xu (only twelve year old!) who gave an amazing performance. In the second half of the Final Concert Colin's Crew Woodwind Ensemble performed a medley of songs in memory of two recently deceased and well known teachers in Harrogate (Colin Mathews and Ian Peak) some of whom had been taught by them. Our Olde Tyme Music Hall Master of Ceremonies (Terry Harrison) for the first time hosted the entertainment section, but not before regaling us all with a witty Gilbert and Sullivan song, the lyrics of which were rearranged to reflect the present day political climate - I believe the word 'Brexit' was mentioned and it was all highly amusing!  Rossett School Saxophonix closed the show by leaving the hall one by one still playing their piece 'Carnival' and the final young woman was carried out by her colleague to the thunderous applause of the amazed audience! 
 
LINDA WILSON

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