Festival entrants mark centenary of First World War

People at the festival who performed in the teo classes to mark the centenary of the First World War
People at the festival who performed in the teo classes to mark the centenary of the First World War

HASTINGS Musical Festival commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War with poetry and song.

Last Tuesday evening (March 11) Mayor Alan Roberts attended two special classes introduced this year to mark the centenary of the 1914-1918 conflict. Evocative poetry and songs were performed in period costume, and Molly Townson, festival chairman, presented a cheque to representatives of the Royal British Legion.

The highest mark of 88 in the two classes went to Sharon Sellens, who received the new Geoffrey Sands Memorial Trophy. Sharon has been invited to sing her winning song Keep the Home Fires Burning in the Highlights Concert of the Festival Finale tomorrow (Saturday) at the White Rock Theatre from 5.15pm.

This week the festival saw another high standard of entries.

Highest marks of all in the festival so far this year were won by 10-year-old Daisy Noton, Flute and Oboe, who won the Woodwind Silver Medal 16 and over, and the Woodwind Recital any age, both with marks of 92.

The festival has also seen a larger than usual number of Speech and Drama entries.

Alice Kemgin and Eden Myall’s Duo in Devised Performance scored 90 marks, Janet Smallman got 90 marks for the Humorous Verse, and Alexander School, in the Any Age Mime Group Telling a Story category, achieved 90 marks.

A new Radio Play Class produced a good entry with the Alexander School and Speak Easy tying in first place with 88 marks.

Bronze Medal Dancing was won by 12-year-old Maisie Edwards and the Silver Medal by 13-year-old Kendra Colangelo.

The Senior Singing Section saw well-known local singer Carolyn Bruce win the Gold Medal Class, sponsored by Hastings Round Table, and the evening climaxed with a Music Theatre Showcase.

Molly said: “This exciting new class for local theatre groups showcased songs from Cats, Les Miserables and Rent and was won by Silverlee Stage School with 88 marks, for their excerpts from a brand new musical Newsies.

“Two days of packed Show Song Classes from nine years to adult singers impressed the adjudicator who gave winning marks of 89 to 14-year-old Ollie Spencer and Sam Clark, aged 16, and 90 to 18-year-old Andy Rose. Adjudicator Sarah Jeffries spoke of the tremendously high standard of singing in the lovely town of Hastings.”

Tonight (Friday) will see a very different atmosphere at the White Rock Theatre when nine local bands including a late entry, Alba, play in the festival’s Rockfest. They will be judged by Paul Roberts, former lead singer of The Stranglers, who is presenting the trophy and cash prizes. The Rockfest is compered by Andy Gunton, of Hastings Rock, with back line provided by Pete Price, of the St Leonards Contemporary School of Music. The event starts at 6pm and tickets are £5.