THE MOMENT performers have all been anxiously awaiting – the annual music festival’s instrumental championship – is just a few hours away and will see one of them crowned Swindon’s most talented musician.

A dozen outstanding players from primary school pupils to experienced senior pianists, who each came top in their respective categories over the past few days, will take to the stage at the Arts Centre this evening for a final test of their expertise, natural musicality and passion at the championship.

So far more than 300 vocalists, duets, guitarists and woodwind musicians have competed to be named best in their class since the launch of the 105th annual showcase last Thursday. A further 700 are still due to perform for the event’s panel of adjudicators until Saturday.

Sheila Marcer, vice chairman of Swindon Music Festival, said judges and organisers had been extremely impressed by the competitors’ talent.

“One of our adjudicators, Caroline Clemmow, told us how much she had enjoyed it and that the performances were of a high standard – and that’s really good for us to hear,” she said.

“We had had quite a variety of genres and we have had quite a lot of pianists this year, especially little ones. And I think it’s very good for children to get up on stage and perform. It helps them improve their technique.

“Competitors get written feedback with the adjudicator’s remarks and it helps their teachers and provides another perspective.”

She added: “It’s an important event in Swindon and we are proud to run it. We celebrated our centenary a few years ago and we are hoping it will continue for a long time and that people will take on some of the posts on the committee.”

Again this year, the festival has attracted musicians and singers from as far as Gloucestershire and Birmingham.

“It’s growing and we have had quite a lot of people coming from Cirencester and we had one or two from Birmingham and Chelten-ham. It’s good that it’s spreading and to get some recognition elsewhere,” said Sheila.

The junior vocal championship will take place on Friday followed by the senior vocal championship and supreme championship on Saturday.