Mu­sic to the judge’s ears

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Culture -

Male voice choirs and young mu­si­cians stole the show at this year’s Cam­borne Mu­sic Fes­ti­val which was praised by ad­ju­di­ca­tor Mar­i­lynne Davies as one of the best she had at­tended – both for the quality of mu­si­cian­ship and the level of au­di­ence attendance.

“Very rarely do I go to a fes­ti­val where there are so many peo­ple in one place at one time,” she told a packed au­di­ence at the fi­nal night in the town’s Cen­te­nary Chapel.

She said she was par­tic­u­larly de­lighted by the emer­gence of two teenage prodi­gies in the brass band in­stru­men­tal­ist sec­tion, both com­pet­ing at the fes­ti­val for the first time, who went on to scoop ma­jor awards.

Cam­borne Youth Band cor­net player Aaron Thomas, 17, took top marks in the brass sec­tion and was given the Ro­tary Club Young Mu­si­cian Award for his per­for­mance of La Belle Amer­i­caine by John Hart­mann. He also won the new Menin Gate award, set up to mark the cen­te­nary of the end of the First World War. The £100 prize, in­spired by Cam­borne Youth Band’s trip to the bat­tle­fields this sum­mer, will now be given an­nu­ally to en­cour­age young brass band play­ers.

“To be the first to win some­thing as im­por­tant as this, in me­mory of us ac­tu­ally play­ing at the Menin Gate dur­ing our trip to France and Bel­gium in me­mory of the war dead is re­ally emo­tional,” said Aaron. “I think this award is im­por­tant be­cause it both re­mem­bers the fallen and also show­cases brass band play­ing in Corn­wall.”

Cal­lum Wil­ton, 15, a young per­cus­sion­ist with the pres­ti­gious Cam­borne Town Band, said he was stunned to re­ceive the cup for best in­di­vid­ual per­for­mance in the en­tire fes­ti­val. Cal­lum played J S Bach’s Min­uet and Badinerie.

Mar­i­lynne Davies was also deeply im­pressed by the stan­dard of lo­cal male voice choirs.

“It was a joy to have four male voice choirs and you can jus­ti­fi­ably be proud in Cam­borne to field choirs like this – each of which in many cir­cum­stances would carry away first place,” she said. “There’s a lot of good work go­ing on in this area and you should all be very, very proud.”

The Celtic Male Ensem­ble, led by Alis­tair Tay­lor, took top place, fol­lowed by Hol­man Cli­max and St Stythi­ans in joint sec­ond and Ker­rier Choir in third place. Bari­tone Paul Nes­bitt won best male singer and so­prano Jes­sica Chantler best fe­male singer.

“The warm fam­ily at­mos­phere at this fes­ti­val is sec­ond to none,” said Jes­sica. “It’s a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity to push the bound­aries. Ev­ery­one sup­ports each other and gen­uinely wants you to do well, which is so en­cour­ag­ing. You are guar­an­teed to come away with a smile.”

Top young singer was Rebecca Walker (pic­tured ), who won the Ro­tary Young Mu­si­cian Award for best vo­cal­ist and the Peter Johns’ New Achiev­ers’ Award. Mount’s Bay Academy Choir won the se­nior choir class and an award for the school or youth choir ob­tain­ing the high­est mark. In the pri­mary school class, Pol­whele House Ju­nior Choir won the com­pe­ti­tion for choirs with fewer than 150 pupils in the school. The award for a choir from a school with more than 150 pupils was won by Treleigh School Choir.

The Fes­ti­val cel­e­brates its 50th year in 2019, when the ad­ju­di­ca­tor will be He­len Deakin.

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