"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’ ofThanks 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.
It was, in the end, undoubtedly a fantastic success. Harrogate High School
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!!