The Incorporated Society of Musicians is a charity who help musicians in need. They’ve done a lot of work throughout the pandemic to support musicians who haven’t been able to work so if you are able to, any donations would be very appreciated. You can donate by clicking here.
The Eskdale Festival, which normally fills the Spa Pavilion with music, drama and song in March every year, had to be cancelled, but the committee members were determined that talented musicians from the area should still have the opportunity to perform.
Local music teacher Bob Butterfield and former Eskdale School student Zak Parlby decided to organise a ‘virtual’ Jazz Lunch. The result is a tremendous line-up of more than 15 musicians, mostly from the Whitby area, ranging in age from 17 to 70. They include Tony Cross and Alastair Laurence as well as Bob and Zak, playing everything from jazz standards such as ‘Fly me to the Moon’ and ‘Blue Bossa’ to new pieces being performed for the first time. Instruments include saxophones, trumpet, trombone, flute, piano, guitar, bass and drums.
Every musician recorded their performance separately and sent it to Zak, who has then done tremendous work editing the separate pieces together to create a video. Zak has also supplied the arrangements for many of the numbers and composed as well. There are solo items as well as different combinations of instruments. The video lasts about 35 minutes.
Zak has been a student at Whitby Music Centre since primary school and has now recently been accepted to the jazz course at Leeds College of Music, to study the saxophone. He has been writing his own compositions for several years, some of which his teacher Bob will use at the Music Centre ensemble he leads.
Zak commented: ‘It’s a great pleasure to write all this music and have it played by so many talented players. I am thoroughly enjoying arranging and editing to create the finished product and look forward to the release in April.’
The video will be available on the website and facebook page of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts free of charge. However, those who wish to are asked to support the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) via the just giving page that will be attached to the video. The ISM supports musicians who have been unable to earn money since the pandemic. The launch date is 11th April.
Future plans for the Festival include a recorded concert with contributions from local schools, which should be happening before the end of the summer term.
The festival has not gone!! We’re currently working on moving the annual jazz lunch online and will be available to watch for free from April!! As usual, it will contain local jazz musicians and will include lots of original arrangements of jazz standards.
With this being said, the 2021 competition is cancelled however, we are currently looking into different ways of hosting an event of some sort later in the year (given the current corona situation)
Updates on our “Virtual Jazz Lunch” will be posted in the weeks to come so watch this space!!
Whitby Spa Theatre and Pavilion will be bursting at the seams on Saturday 7th April when eighteen adult choirs arrive to participate in the National Choir Day. This is the final event of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts 2018 season and it should be a musical feast. “It’s like having our own Eisteddfod!” said chairman Dave Bradley. “We’ve never attracted so many choirs before and there’s a lovely mixture of male voice, small and large choirs, female choirs and some mixed groups.”
Choirs are coming from Accrington, York, Horbury, Denby Dale, Gateshead, Penistone, Malton, Saddleworth, Middlesbrough, Stockport, Leeds and the Scarborough and Whitby areas to sing a range of pieces including:- “Songs from the Shows”, “Sacred Music”, “Christmas in April” and “Choir Recitals” where each choir has to perform two or three contrasting pieces. This year the classes will be judged by Jacqueline Edwards (a descendant of Dame Clara Butt) who studied at the Royal College of Music and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and Sam Dunkley who studied at Huddersfield University and went on to sing for Opera North.
To accommodate the number of choirs two venues will be used on Saturday afternoon – the Spa Theatre for smaller choirs and the Northern Lights Suite for larger choirs. In the evening all the choirs will be performing in the Northern Lights Suite. The afternoon sessions begin at 1.00pm and the evening session begins at 6.00pm. Tickets are available on the day at the information desk (in the café area) at £5 per session.
Planning for next year’s festival is underway and chairman Dave Bradley is very excited about the future. “We had a very successful Festival in 2017 with lots of local schools taking part and several schools from Scarborough and Ryedale. Our National Choir Day in April attracted fourteen adult choirs from across the north of England (the largest number so far) and the standard of singing was exceptional. Next year we are looking to introduce reading classes for senior citizens and some non-competitive improvised dance classes for young people. We are also using one venue over more days than usual, so that we can attract larger audience numbers during the competition days. The Whitby Spa and Pavilion staff do a fantastic job for us every year and I am determined that we will continue to promote the arts in these wonderful buildings.”
The Festival will begin on Saturday 3rd March with a Band Competition. This will be followed by Speech and Drama competitions on the 6th and 7th March; Secondary Music competitions on the 8th and 9th March; Primary Music competitions on the 12th, 13th and 14th March. The annual Gala Concert will be held on Saturday 17th March at 6.30pm in the Whitby Spa Theatre. The National Choir Day will be held on Saturday 7th April in the Northern Lights Suite.
Members of the public are welcome to offer up other suggestions/improvements at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 20th July at 7.30pm in Hawsker Methodist Church.
Well done to all of the performers who took part in the Festival this year! The Boyes Gala Concert will be at 6.30pm on Saturday 11th March at the Pavilion. Admission: Children free; Adults £6.
A message from Dave Bradley, Chairman:
There has been a lovely atmosphere at the Festival this year. Although it is a competition, there have been many examples of young people working as a team and several examples of schools helping other schools. Audiences have been very generous with their applause and all competitors have been supported and given positive advice from four very different but excellent professional adjudicators. Individuals and groups have achieved some very high standards in music ensembles,drama, verse speaking, choral speaking, solo instrumental pieces, duets and choirs. All ages have been included in the Festival from nursery to people of the third age!
This is my third year as Chairman and this has been my happiest and most rewarding year. One of the adjudicators described the Eskdale Festival of Arts as ‘the jewel in the crown’ of festivals.It has been fantastic to see so many participants leaving classes with big smiles on their faces and some of the performances have been stunning as well as mesmerising – fantastic.
I’m just pleased that the Festival can offer a platform for talent to be celebrated in our community.