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Getting in tune for music festival fun
MORE than 600 talented musicians and singers have entered this year’s Swindon Music Festival.
Organisers are delighted that the numbers are up on last year and are now hoping for greater audience attendances as well.
Performances on offer include choirs, vocalists either solo, duets or groups, musicians playing the pianoforte, strings, woodwind, guitar, ensembles, brass instruments, keyboards and church organ.
Chairman festival Geoff Walters said: “There is so much great music to enjoy during the day for only £1.
“There are some great singers and to see the little children singing or playing their pieces is heartwarming.
“We have a cafe to have some lunch, it is a warm and comfortable venue, everything is there.
“We want to reach out to the people of Swindon to support the festival. We want them to know how much music there is on offer for everyone to enjoy.’’ The church organ class kicks off the 104th Swindon festival in Christ Church in Old Town from 6.30pm tomorrow and continues the next day at the Swindon Arts Centre. It runs until Saturday, March 23.
The chairman believes the huge success of the festival has a lot to do with the dedication of the music teachers in Swindon.
“We have some great teachers in the town and we have to say a big thank you to them for supporting the festival and encouraging their pupils to take part,’’ said Geoff.
This year the adjudicators are Ann Lampard, Richard Deering and Roy Robinson and the accompanist is concert pianist and founder of the Swindon Recital Series Paul Turner.
The festival is affiliated to the British and International Federation of Festivals and is also a registered charity.
It 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.
Past winners include Sarah Covey, who starred in London’s West End in the musical We Will Rock You.
In 1938 Diana Fluck, better known as the film star Diana Dors, competed in a recitation class for girls aged seven to 10-years-old and in 1988 and 1989 jazz superstar Jamie Cullum competed in the under nine piano solo and piano duet classes.
Geoff said: “ We’re looking forward to it. It’s all systems go.’’ Along with the daily classes for £1 there is the Instrumental Championship on Wednesday, March 20, 6.30pm, for £4, the Junior Vocal Championship on Friday, March 22, 6.30pm, for £4 and the Supreme Championship Grand Concert on Saturday, March 23 bringing the festival to a close. Tickets £5 from 01793 614837.