Eighteen Adult Choirs at Whitby Pavilion
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.
It’s looking a little rainy in Whitby, so why not pop down to the Pavilion for a musical weekend! Tomorrow (Saturday 4th March) is the band competition, in which various bands from the local area and further afield will be participating. And on Sunday, there is a jazz lunch in the Pavilion cafe at 12.30.
The Eskdale Festival AGM will take place on Thursday 30th June at 7.15pm at Hawsker Methodist Chapel.
Anyone interested in having a say or hearing more about how the Eskdale Festival is organised and run is welcome.
The “Spoken Word” competition of the Eskdale Festival of the Arts 2016 will be kick-started by professional storyteller Fran O’Boyle when he works with secondary and primary students on Tuesday March 1st at Eskdale School. Fran has worked as a storyteller for many years and frequently does workshops in schools and appears at a variety of literary and folk events throughout the country.
He is based in Shropshire but has strong links with Antrim. Most of his stories have their origins in Saxon, Norse and Irish myths and legends. He also has a treasure chest of his own stories!