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Concert will mark end of this year's Grantham Music Festival

By Grantham Reporter

The curtains fall at Grantham Music Festival for another year on Saturday. But memories of 2019’s five-day competition will likely linger longer for adjudicator, Gillian Johnston, and

The exceptional quality this year across all 243 entries and 905 performers meant choosing winners was particularly tricky. “The standard is so, so high here in Grantham,” said Gill Johnston. “All the musicians have made it very, very difficult to choose a winner.”

Stand-out performances saw experienced adjudicator Gill Johnston award her highest-ever mark in a music festival. The Harpenden-based teacher and musician adjudicates all over the country. In her comments on Thursday – keyboard day – she also told performers theirs were some of the best piano playing she had ever heard in a festival like this.

Orlando Phillips - Grantham Music Festival (7941030)
Orlando Phillips - Grantham Music Festival (7941030)

Laura Gardiner, chair of Grantham Music Festival, said: “These students are a true credit to the excellent teaching going on here.”

Friday at the Festival was string day and another opportunity for Grantham’s musicians to show the world what they are capable of. Across the many large and hard-fought classes, they didn’t disappoint.

String players the Vivo Trio went on in the ensemble classes on Saturday to secure Gill’s highest-ever score, raising the bar locally and nationally in the process.

But Grantham Music Festival is not about winning. Like others happening all around the country, it is a vital platform for musicians to hone their skills and for adjudicators like Gill to offer invaluable advice.

James Diamond - Grantham Music Festival (7941725)
James Diamond - Grantham Music Festival (7941725)

To guide performers to the next level, Gill’s top tip for instrumentalists taking part in 2020 is to memorise their music. “Actors don’t have their lines with them on stage,” said Gill. “Why should musicians have their music? Take the stage!”

Grantham Music Festival is a celebration of everything that goes into making great music, as well as a place to gain confidence and build skills.

It reflects both the dedication of schools, teachers, parents and ensemble leaders, and that of the vocalists, composers and instrumentalists.

Looking to Grantham’s future on the national music map – already home to local heroes like former Festival participants Oliver Pashley, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Georgia Hannant and this year’s Trophy Presenter, Carla Rees – the festival earlier in the week welcomed Primary Schools to its Christchurch venue.

Naomi Williams (7943007)
Naomi Williams (7943007)

The Primary School Music Making session on Wednesday is a cornerstone of the Festival. This year’s appreciative audiences and Gill were treated to some amazing entries, ranging from rock bands to string ensembles, woodwind and brass to choirs, which set the tone for the week.

Continuing the precedent set by all the primary schools for smart, disciplined performances, Gill also praised Saturday’s choristers for their conduct and performances.

Still a chance to hear some great performances!

Cicely Frith - Grantham Music Festival (7941571)
Cicely Frith - Grantham Music Festival (7941571)

If you missed the performances last week, Saturday sees past festival participant and now professional flautist, Carla Rees, presenting the trophies and performing. The 7pm prizegiving and concert at Christchurch, Finkin Street, will also see the Vivo Trio take to the stage again alongside some fellow best-in-class trophy winners.

“Please do join us in supporting all these fantastic musicians as we celebrate Grantham’s vibrant music scene,” said Laura Gardiner. “The concert is also our chance to say ‘thank you’ to everyone involved and to all our sponsors who help make Grantham Music Festival such a success.”

For a full list of winners and trophy winners, and to find out how to enter next year’s Grantham Music Festival, visit www.granthammusicfestival.co.uk

Tamar Schofield - Grantham Music Festival. (7941465)
Tamar Schofield - Grantham Music Festival. (7941465)
Lwandi Gama (7941250)
Lwandi Gama (7941250)


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