ARTS FESTIVAL MARKS 40 YEARS
Another successful year for popular arts contest
THIS year marks the 40th anniversary of Chesham Arts Festival, a competitive celebration of dance, speech, drama and music held over a two week period at various venues in Chesham.
Over the years, the festival has gained a reputation for its well organised, friendly, welcoming and supportive atmosphere, high quality, specialist and well informed adjudicators in all disciplines, and, for the excellence of all who take part and compete in the many and varied classes available to the youngest and oldest participants.
From four year olds through to mature adults (age unspecified), the quality of what they do has at times been described as ‘breathtaking.’
This year was no exception and the high number of entries resulted in extra sessions, and an additional adjudicator, having to be held in the speech and music sessions.
Roger Smith from Chesham Arts Festival said: “In these times of arts disciplines having to fight for survival, it is a huge credit to all concerned with the festival that there are growing numbers taking part despite the difficulties they may encounter on the way.”
The festival’s general secretary, Gwen Woodstock, has been at the helm throughout the 40 years of its existence and she was delighted this year that there were so many new comers taking part.
She said: “I feel very proud to be part of such a wonderful festival which I’ve seen grow tremendously over the last 40 years.
“The first music festival was held at the White Hill Centre in 1976 with a total of 80 entries. Speech and dance sections came later. Interestingly some of those earlier competitors are now entering their own pupils.
“We now have over 1,000 people taking part each year. Long may it continue.”
The final concert, which included presentations of trophies and bursaries in the speech and music disciplines, took place on Sunday (February 21) in front of a large and enthusiastic audience at The Elgiva, in Chesham.
The audience was treated to a varied programme performed by soloists, small ensembles and two choirs.
Presentations were made by Chesham’s mayor Peter Hudson, who said that he was ‘amazed at the range of talent from Chesham and the surrounding areas.’
Additional bursaries were awarded by the Chess Valley Male Voice Choir, which has supported the festival for many years and who provide a platform at their concerts for the recipients of the bursaries.
Also providing bursaries were Chesham Rotary, who, along with Amersham Rotary nominate and support some trophy winners in their International Young Musicians competition.
As the festival enters its 41st year, the organisers are keen to continue to welcome more entrants and they are looking forward to another successful year in 2017.
For more information visit www.chesham artsfestival.org.uk.
Finalists: Competitors at this year’s Chesham Music Festival