2018  Ten Wonderful Days of Speech and Music!

St John’s Methodist Church in St Austell was buzzing from 21st November until 1st December with hundreds of young people performing to the delight of family and friends from the local area. It was time for the annual St Austell Festival of Music and Speech once again!

In the Spoken Word, the adjudicator this year was Tish Nicoll, who had visited the festival previously in 2013. Her comments were always lively, encouraging and full of good advice. Highlights of that first week included choral speaking on Thursday evening when eight classes from St Mewan School and two from Luxulyan battled it out in front of a packed church. Set poem classes for individuals were well supported and there were increased entries this year in own choice classes and monologues. One particularly interesting class was when children read poems they had written themselves.  Saturday was very busy with poetry speaking by children from Key Stage 1, including almost forty in their first year at school.

On 26th November, the Music week began with over thirty young violinists enjoying a music workshop led by local string teachers. Although most had only begun playing in September, they were able to play well together by the end of the morning to proud parents. Lesley Shrigley Jones, this year’s music adjudicator, began her work on Tuesday. She was new to the festival; her adjudication was meticulous and always positive. Highlights of the music week included high standards in the primary school choir morning and the largest numbers of entries in the brass session for several years, many of which were complimented too on their high standards. There was also much to enjoy in recorder, woodwind, string, piano and vocal classes. Although adult class entries have been relatively few for some years now, there was a most entertaining adult session on Friday evening. A very special time in the music week was when the adjudicator and Festival Secretary visited Doubletrees School to enjoy the work of a sensory group.

There will be a gala concert on Friday 1st February 2019 at St John’s Methodist Church at 7.00 pm to include many of the highlights of this year’s festival and cheer everyone up in the middle of winter.

The St Austell Festival of Music and Speech is affiliated to the British & International Federation of Festivals. Over three million people take part in its festivals world-wide each year. St Austell is proud to be part of that! The festival is run entirely by volunteers and is always keen to welcome more help. The committee is most grateful to its 2018 volunteers, to St John’s Methodist Church, to its sponsors and to those who came to support the performers. Finally and most importantly, it would like to thank all those who took part and used their talents to give such pleasure to everybody present. Come again next year and bring your friends!   

Anne Keast, General Secretary, St Austell Festival of Music & Speech