Festival Report 2010
The 97th Taunton & Somerset Music & Drama Festival began the week’s musical activities with a stunning day and a half of piano classes.The performers (8 – 18 years old) played a huge variety of solos, duets (and even a trio), as well as performing in recital, sight reading and Jazz classes.The excellent adjudicator, Graeme Humphrey, on his third visit to the Festival, complimented the piano teachers on the high standards attained by their pupils.Tuesday’s Wind Day began in style with accomplished playing from the Taunton Children’s Orchestra and Castle School’s Steel Band, Swingin’ Strings and First Orchestra.Parkfield Primary School gained clusters of cups for solo and ensemble playing in the Recorder classes and there were plenty of lively solos in the woodwind and brass classes from a wide range of instruments.Colin Bradbury was the distinguished adjudicator.String classes on Thursday included a harpist for the first time, an increasing number of guitarists, and some exceptionally fine performances from violin, viola, ‘cello and double bass players.Groups and ensembles are always a delight, with all ages involved – this is ‘team work’ of a high order – and the Family Music Making class, with three families taking part, brought smiles to all faces.Kathryn Hardman adjudicated throughout a long day with encouraging, constructive remarks, laced with plenty of humour.
Hundreds of young singers made for a thrilling Junior Vocal Day.Neil and Penny Jenkins, and Robert Latham were wonderful adjudicators, listening to solos and duets, songs from musical theatre, folksong, Art song and Oratorio, giving an impromptu ‘workshop’ where time allowed, and always giving inspirational help and encouragement.At one stage, the Queen’s College Hall was teeming with four Primary School choirs, alongside the newly formed Taunton Academy Singers, Castle School’s and Bridgwater College’s large groups of singers.The atmosphere was terrific as they all listened and appreciated each other’s performances.Neil and Penny Jenkins also adjudicated the Senior Vocal day on the last day of the Festival, and, again, their workshops – formal and informal – were fascinating as they encouraged and coaxed the singers into a greater understanding of singing technique and the interpretation of their chosen pieces.
Six nationally, and internationally, experienced adjudicators dealing with hundreds of young people from dozens of different schools made for another memorable Festival week.
Speech and Drama
Again this year the drama section of the Festival, which ran from 15 – 19 November at the Temple Methodist Church, Taunton was a great success and goes from strength to strength. Over 500 children took part in classes ranging from spoken verse, due acting, choral verse, Shakespeare and Bible Reading. The adjudicators, John Carrington MA and Michael Stone LLAM expressed their delight at the high standard of work and praised the teachers for their dedication in helping to keep the ‘arts’ alive and to making the drama side of the Festival so very interesting.’