Music to the judge’s ears
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.