Festival aims to be notable

This Is Wiltshire: From last year’s festival, keeping it in the family are from left, Catherine Forty, winner of class 8 & 11, her brother William Forty, winner of class 10, and his wife Natalie, winner of class 2 From last year’s festival, keeping it in the family are from left, Catherine Forty, winner of class 8 & 11, her brother William Forty, winner of class 10, and his wife Natalie, winner of class 2

SINGERS and musicians are being encouraged to brush up their brass, polish up their piano and spruce up their strings as the syllabus for the 105th Swindon Music Festival is available now.

The festival gets underway at the Arts Centre in Old Town and Christ Church from Thursday, March 20 to Saturday, March 29 and is open to choirs, vocal solos, duets, group, pianoforte, strings, woodwind, guitar, ensembles, composition, brass and masters of the keyboards.

There are 100 trophies up for grabs, donated by some well known names in the area such as Ray Dance from SALOS, Sheila Harrod from the Kentwood Choir and Clarry Bean from the Arts Centre.

Firms have also added their support including Holmes Music store and the Advertiser which donated the Swindon Advertiser Cup for Girls or Boys Solo (under eight).

As aspiring musicians rush to pick up this year’s syllabus for the festival, organisers are calling for more sponsors.

Vice chairman of the festival, Sheila Marcer, said: “We have been ticking along for some years but we really need sponsors to ensure we keep up the high standards of the festival and attract top quality adjudicators such as we have this year.

“We welcome any businesses or individuals who are willing to support the festival.’’ In the 105th year of the musical feast, Christopher Field, a singer, double bass player and composer who sang at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey, will be one of the adjudicators.

He is joined by Yvonne Patrick, a former member of the prestigious D’Oyly Carte Opera Company, a regular on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night Is Music Night and a soprano soloist in the Centenary Gala Concert of the Philadelphia Savoy Company.

The third musical musketeer is Caroline Clemmowa, an adjudicator with the BBC Young Musician competition, teacher and renowned broadcast and recital pianist.

The festival was set up in 1909 as a one-night choir festival at the Mechanics Institute. It was the brainchild of R G Cripps who wanted to launch a festival in his home town after enjoying an eisteddfod. The first festival had only six entries and the 104th event had 600.

Last spring’s Supreme Champion, winning the C S MacPherson trophy, was Amy Bladon.

All entries need to be received by the secretary Dawn Ball by Friday, January 2014.

The syllabus is available now from www.swindonmusicfestival.co.uk.

Anyone wishing to sponsor the festival should contact the chairman Geoff Walters on 01793 822006.

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