Monday, 19 June 2017

The Annual General Meeting

The HCFMSD Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday 17th June. The accounts for the year were approved and our Chairman, Paul Dutton gave his report, edited extracts from which are as follows:

"It gives me great pleasure in presenting this annual report as Chairman of the Harrogate Competitive Festival.  I would like to thank everyone for being here today and all those people who have supported me throughout the year again and made it a hugely enjoyable and rewarding experience. In particular I thank the Committee for their continued support of the Festival and all that goes into making it the success that it is. I would especially like to thank all those people who worked tirelessly over the months leading up to the festival to make sure that we had a smooth transition into our new ‘home’ of Harrogate High School. It was, in the end, undoubtedly a fantastic success.
Thanks at this stage must go to all those at the school who enabled the Festival to run so smoothly, in particular Ms Ann Francis, the Academy Head, Catherine Wright the Lettings Officer and her great team of site staff, Helen Mills, Music Technician at the school and of course our own Richard Thomas whose suggestion it was that we try to make this our new venue.
Within the Festival family my thanks go to:
Alan Connell who did a wonderful job to promote the festival and organise all the new banners and signage for us;
Maureen Greenberg for ensuring there were enough stewards each day (a difficult task when 4 rooms were running consecutively);
Mike Greenberg for all the many jobs he does and ensuring all the Adjudicators were paid on time;
Derek Starling for spending huge amounts of time scheduling all the classes in an untried venue and for the tweets and twitters and all that is technological! The on-line entry system continues to flourish under his wing;
Mavis Gibson for organising a competent team of people to sell tickets at the door;
Sue Chicken for organising the catering;
Jean Burton and her scribes for adapting so quickly to the new venue;
The committee team for choosing and organising the music and the speech and drama materials and to Sally for her minutes;
Also to Frank Gilchrist and particularly Christine Ward Campbell for the collection and collation of all the trophies.
We continue to look for a venue for when the trophies have to be returned;
And finally, of course to Linda Wilson our magnificent Secretary for all that she does and continues to do for the Festival despite it not being the most wonderful of years for her.
In terms of the Festival itself, entries were down on last year, which was unsurprising since we had to limit the numbers and size of the choirs. The seating in the massive Sports Hall was non-existent and we were also concerned that there was nothing to dampen the sound which would have had a detrimental effect on the singing. One of the choirs from this year actually went into the Sports Hall to test the acoustics and I am pleased to say that we should be able to use this space next year to maximise the number of entries up and hopefully beyond our usual capacity by then.
The main building worked well as it was compact, which meant less running around for some of our elderly stewards. The sound proofing was excellent, although some of the rooms were disappointingly small for the larger groups but careful programming next year should resolve this issue too. Catering was good but we are looking into how we can improve this further next year.
We had very few complaints this year, apart from a couple from parents of speech and drama performers who were not happy with their adjudications.
Our Music for Fun class took place again at Christ Church Hall on the Monday following the first weekend of the festival.  Unfortunately entries were low and we are now thinking of making it a Music and Drama for Fun class in an attempt to increase entries
As usual we were treated to a feast of talent at our Final Concert which took place in the main hall of the school, a lovely sized room with tiered seating, on the last Sunday evening. We were privileged to have 3 very experienced adjudicators, Marilynne Davies, Ann Lampard and Christina Thomson. The winner of the Young Musician of the Festival was a percussionist, Theo Pedley. We were all spellbound by the wonderful performances from each of these young finalists but his stood out as an exceptional performance. He will now go on to perform in the Regional Championships in September.
As a foot-note to this evening, The Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, Councillor Nick Brown, who was in attendance, commented that he had thoroughly enjoyed the Final Concert and praised the organisation of the Festival.
 I am sure that Mike (our Treasurer) will give you more details about the financial side of the Festival shortly but we will continue to seek funding wherever we can for the Festival and we will also continue to apply for funding to the Borough Council. We did receive a welcome grant of £500 from the Spooner Trust.
The Festival Committee continues to forge links with other local organisations including the Ripon Cathedral Concert Society who donate free tickets to the Final Concert performers and their families in return for a free advert in our programme each year. For the first time last year, winners of our Young Musician Competition were invited to perform at the Harrogate International Festival as part of their Young Musician events. Maria Marshall, the brilliant young cellist who won our title in 2016, is performing on Thursday 6th July at St James’ Church, Birstwith. 
Whilst competition remains at the heart of all we do, continuing to support, nurture and provide new opportunities for our young and not so young musicians is critically important if we are to develop and grow further.
In conclusion, I would like to say how honoured I am to be working with such a dedicated and committed group of people all of whom are volunteers! They are totally devoted to the cause and for that I thank each and every one of them once more. We all look forward to another successful and stimulating year ahead. Thank you. "

Planning for 2018 is going ahead now full-steam and the Syllabus will be published in September. Watch this space!!


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Harrogate International Festivals

Harrogate International Festivals kick off their summer festival with Artist in Residence Armonico Consort, and the festival reaches it's climax with a rare and intimate recital by international operatic icon Sir Bryn Terfel.
The Young Musicians Series and BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists place the next Generation of musicians into the spotlight and the Family Concert with the Harrogate Symphony Orchestra will excite and inspire the next Generation of music audiences. Festival favourites The John Wilson Orchestra swing back into town with A Celebration of Rodgers & Hammerstein and theatre troupe Oddsocks cross the Generational gap with their unique and modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.
For jazz lovers, they have the young and energetic Alex Mendham & His Orchestra and Grammy-Award winning saxophonist Tim Garland. For lovers of classical chamber music, The Gould Piano Trio and Kamus String Quartet honour past generations and introduce us to an exciting new Generation of composers. And for those looking for something a little bit different, poet and broadcaster Ian McMillan presents a lunchtime concert featuring songs based on his funny, poignant and witty Early Stroll Tweets.
Join Harrogate International Festivals this July for their marvellous music line-up. To book tickets and find out more, visit

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Ripon Cathedral Concert Society

The Ripon Cathedral Concert Society is a great supporter of our Festival Young Musicians, giving each finalist a family ticket for one of their Winter concerts, so we are happy to publish the following message from them in our blog:

Dear Concert Goer

The Anna Tsybuleva concert was a great way to end the winter series. But it is not quite over….... As part of the Concert Society’s support for young musicians, we are sponsoring two of the three spring concerts being given by the Vacation Chamber Orchestra (VaCO) which will be enjoyable and fun. VaCO is a residential course for seriously good young musicians and includes concerts in three locations as follows: 

Vacation Chamber Orchestra’s Spring concerts
  • Thursday 6th April 7.30 at St Johns Church Sharow, HG4 5BT 
  • Friday 7th April 7.30 at St Peter & St Paul Church, Stokesley TS9 5AD 
  • Saturday 8th April at 7.30 at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth DL8 3SR 
They will play two works for mixed ensemble and narrator by Richard Shepherd, the world premier of The Selfish Dragon and The Musicians of Bremen. The concert will also include chamber music for wind quintet, string quartet and works for mixed chamber ensemble for wind and strings. Tickets costing £10 (free for those under 18) can be obtained from Jackie Bailey on 07974 142484 or at the door.  

Summer drinks and concert on Monday 3 July - a date for your diary -  
We hope you will be able to join us on Monday 3 July at 7.00 in St John’s Church, Sharow when we will be launching our exciting 2017/18 Winter Concert Series. The evening will include drinks and canapés and a special piano recital  by the young Serbian Pianist, Nicola Avramovic. The concert will include music by Schumann, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninov and Gershwin. He is currently in the UK on a two year scholarship at the Royal College of Music. He will be familiar to Harrogate audiences having taken part in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Masterclass at last year’s Harrogate International Festival and performed at the Wesley Chapel in October. Tickets for the reception and the concert will be £15. 
Mayor of Harrogate’s Magical Spring Ball
As many of you know, the Catherdal Concert Society will be one of five charities to benefit from the Mayor of Harrogate’s Magical Spring Ball taking place on 8 April at the Old Swan Hotel. A series of very generous donations have been made to the Live and Silent Auctions. Details of the 11 stunning live and 51 silent auction items and how you can bid are available on the following web site, where you can place bids for items in the Silent Auction up until midnight on 8 April . If you are not coming to the Ball, you can also make bids for live auction items by e-mailing Shirley McConville -  

Other concerts
  • Saturday 1 April at 7.30 Ripon Choral Society with works by Poulenc and Vaughan Williams in Ripon Cathedral
  • Saturday April 29 at 7.30. Stephen Hough piano recital at the Wesley Chapel
  • Sunday 30 April at 11.00 Alessandro Taverna piano - Royal Hall, Harrogate. Harrogate International Festival’s Sunday Series
  • Saturday 6 May at 7.30 Royal Northern Sinfonia in Ripon Cathedral - Ripon International Festival
  • Saturday 20 May at 7.30. St Cecilia Orchestra - works by Bach/Stokowski, Respighi, Bruch and Berstein in Ripon Cathedral
We are on Facebook now!!!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

The BBC Ten Pieces Project - Inspire a new piece

The Federation of Festivals has sent out the following information about the above project, but time is of the essence. Deadline 10th February.

Dear Members,
As BBC Ten Pieces moves into its third project phase, they need your help to inspire a new commission!
The open call asks for inspirational words from the young people of Britain – all you need to do in your groups, workshops, lessons, even at your festivals, is have any interested young people complete the attached literacy exercise.
You can give one worksheet to each pupil, or return one sheet with a number of responses to each question on it, if you are working in a group.
Once done, send this back to by February 10th. When all the responses have been collected, the Ten Pieces composer will select words and phrases to be included in the piece, and you will receive a Ten Pieces certificate signed by the composer to celebrate your contribution to the piece!
Have fun with this, and let us know how you get on!
With warm wishes,
Festivals House

Friday, 3 February 2017

Ripon Cathedral Concert Society

The Cathedral Concert Society is once again generously supporting the Festival's Young Musician Competition  with an offer of free tickets for this year's finalists.

We are very happy to support their excellent programme, which, on Monday 13th February features the Magnard Wind Ensemble.

The Ensemble will exploit the space and rich acoustic of Ripon Cathedral to create a very different world with music spanning four centuries. They will play a series of solo pieces and ensembles for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and horn – a concert of veiled nachtmusik and invocations of Greek mythology – beware the god Pan. It brings together five young dynamic wind players to explore the range and beauty of their instruments in the setting of the Cathedral with music by Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Messiaen, Britten, Barber and Waley-Cohen.  


Concert Tickets
Individual tickets costing £15 (£5 for students and free for under 18s) are available from the Society's web site Little Ripon Bookshop (tel 01765 606689), Harrogate Theatre either on line at or from their box office (01423 502116). Tickets will also be available at the door on the evening of the concert 

Pre-concert dinner

Once again, the Old Deanery Hotel will be serving a special two course dinner at 6pm for concert goers - braised chicken, sauté of salami, new potatoes, shallot and spinach followed by rhubarb pavlov
 tea/coffee - costing £12 per head. If you wish to make a reservation, please contact the hotel by telephoning 01765 600 003.

Other events coming up
TOMORROW!! 4 Feb 7.30 pm:  Paulinus Singers - Eternal Voices and supper - St Johns Church, Sharow
6 Feb 1.00 pm:  Arturas Chamber Ensemble from Orchestra of Opera North - Wesley Chapel, Harrogate
17 Feb 7.30 pm:  Leeds International Piano Competition - Paul Lewis (piano) - Leeds Town Hall
18 Feb 7.30 pm:  Leeds Leider - Ian Bostridge (baritone) & Joseph Middleton - Schubert Winterreise - Leeds College of Music, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PD
19 Feb 11.00 am:  Harrogate International Festival - Julian Bliss (clarinet) & Robert Bottriell (piano) - Old Swan Hotel
4 Mar 7.30 pm  St Cecilia Orchestra Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Sibelius and Haydn - Holy Trinity Church, Ripon
6 Mar 1.00 pm:  Roderick Williams (baritone) and Iain Burnside Schubert Die Schone Mullerin - Wesley Chapel, Harrogate
12 Mar 11.00 am:    Harrogate International Festival - Heath String Quartet - Old Swan Hotel

You can access these concerts by going to the Society's website, Click on the particular concert you are interested in, and this will take you to the place where you can obtain full detail and tickets. 
Don't forget that The Competitive Festival kicks off this year on Friday 3rd March at Harrogate High School in their splendid new facilities. The Programme is now with the printers! Check out our website for further details at and follow us on Twitter at #HCFMSD
We hope to see you there.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The 2017 Programme is at the printers

The Programme is being printed and should be available for purchase from around 12th February from

  Music House, 18 Cheltenham Parade, Harrogate HG1 1DB.

Alternatively you could send a B5 or A4 Stamped and Self Addressed Envelope along with a cheque for £2 (made payable to HCFMSD) to Linda Wilson.  See comments on postage at bottom of this entry.
Linda's contact details are:
  Linda Wilson
  2 Walton Gardens,
  Thorp Arch,
  Wetherby LS23 7FU

  Tel: 01937 842955
  Mob: 0752 293 8878.

All correspondents who entered performers have been sent their personal schedules.  If you have not received yours please contact the person who made your entry, or if you made the entry, then please contact me at

Good luck to all competitors


Derek Starling
Voluntary Organiser


We don't yet have a copy of the programme, but last year's of a similar size seems to weigh slightly under 100 grams on my analogue scales.  This is a bit tricky as 100g is the cut off point for regular stamps. 

Choose your postage remembering that B5 envelopes (the smallest that will take the programme) can use regular stamps if under 100gm whereas A4 and B5 (heavier than 100g) require Large Letter Stamps.  Insufficient postage will require a minimum £1.50 fee and a trip to the sorting office.   I'd probably go safe and use Large Letter.  The Royal Mail price finder is here

Sunday, 1 January 2017


The  on-line entry closing date is 13th January 2017 and the paper entry closing date is 4th January 2017, so you need to get your skates on if you still want to enter.

The on-line entry system (together with the full Syllabus) can be accessed from our website at and paper entries must be sent, together with a cheque for the appropriate payment to:

Mrs Linda Wilson
2 Walton Gardens
Thorp Arch
LS23 7FU

If you would like a hard copy Syllabus they are available in Harrogate Library.

We have had two brilliant posters designed by school pupils this year, one from Harrogate High School which will be our new venue and one from Immanuel College in Bradford. Both will be featuring in the various poster sites maintained around Harrogate by the Harrogate International Festival, towards the middle of February so keep an eye out for those.

The Festival will take place on March 3rd-5th: 10th-12th and 17th-19th. We would love to see you there.