FORGET Gareth Malone, the Swindon Music Festival 2017 has its own choirmaster extraordinaire in the shape of David Patrick.

David has agreed to adjudicate at the town's 108th music festival so, to come under his eagle eye, singers and musicians are being urged to pick up the 2017 syllabus, which is out now.

David is an organist, accompanist and conductor, having led both small and massed choirs in various broadcasts and venues including the Royal Albert Hall, and the world premiere of John Houbert's opera The Prisoner.

The adjudicator will be coming to Swindon for the festival at the end of March. It will be held in three venues, Christ Church, and The Arts Centre from Friday, March 24 to Saturday, April 1, 2017.

Last spring Robert Felstead danced off with the Supreme Championship Cup, winning the C S Macpherson trophy, Anahita Falaki won the Instrumental Championship and Harry Apps won the Junior Vocal Championships 2016.

David and the other two professional adjudicators, pianist and viola player, Roy Robinson and opera singer, Ann Lampard, who last year received an MBE for her services to music, will give feedback on competitors showcasing their skills in daily classes for piano, guitar, brass, woodwind, strings, organs, choirs, solos, duets and composers.

The festival vice chairman, Sheila Marcer, is delighted to welcome the adjudicators.

She said: "The festival provides a platform for amateur performance combined with an educational element from professional musicians. The object of the festival has always been to advance the education of the public arts in Swindon and in particular the art of music.''

Founder of the Swindon Recital Series and concert pianist, Paul Turner, has again offered his services as accompanist.

Jazz superstar Jamie Cullum flexed his pianist's fingers on the festival platform in 1988 and the film star Diana Dors trod the boards in 1938, under her real name of Diana Fluck.

In both 2006 and 2008 Swindon singer, Sarah Covey, was crowned Vocal and Supreme Champion of the festival, and she went on to star in London's West End, in the Queen musical We Will Rock You.

Young Kimberley Mok, 13, won her piano class two years running in the festival and this year is the special guest at the Kentwood Christmas Cracker at the Wyvern Theatre.

Trophies and cups donated by well-known names around Swindon will be given to the class winners and these will include the Swindon Advertiser Cup for Girls or Boys' Solo under eight, the Holmes Music Guitar Trophy, Kentwood Trophy, Ray Dance and Judith Sharp Trophy and a cup from the chairman of the festival, the Geoff Walters Trophy.

The first Swindon Music Festival was a one night competition in 1909 held in the Mechanics Institute. It was based on the ideals of an eisteddford, and was the brainchild of R G Cripps, who became mayor in 1938. In that first event there were six entries, and today the festival attracts almost 1,000 entrants each year.

For more details of the festival and syllabus visit