Saturday night fever as festival draws to close

Dyamond Dance
Dyamond Dance

THE grand finale of Hastings Musical Festival tomorrow (Saturday) is expected to draw in the crowds as the popular event, which is in its 104th year, draws to a close.

The event will start at 6.45pm, which will feature the best of the best from this year’s three-week festival.

Jessica Wei Zhu

Jessica Wei Zhu

Petula Clark CBE, the festival’s new president, will also be presenting awards.

The last week has seen a plethora of talent grace the halls of the White Rock Theatre.

Street dance proved enormously popular on Saturday (March 12).

Molly Townson, chairman of Hastings Musical Festival, said: “The energy was amazing, as team after street dance team were met with cheers of approval from the packed audience.

“Dancing adjudicator, Lynne Chilver and street dance expert Tom Roche put them all through their paces and awarded Dyamond Dance top marks 88, and 87 marks in the teams category,” she added.

And on the same day 24-year-old Jessica Wei-Zhu, from the USA, was awarded the Hastings International Piano Concerto Trophy, and a cheque for £2,500, as well as several concert engagements to help further her career.

The Finals Concert, which is in its seventh year, attracted large crowds on Saturday evening.

In a break with tradition, organisers used Sunday (March 13) in their performance scheduling, which proved a success.

Miss Townson said: “More mums and dads than ever came to the White Rock to see the dancing groups in the main auditorium and the junior piano classes in the Sussex Hall.”

Jane Wisely played Chopin, winning 90 in the Any Age class.

Speech classes also got underway last week and organisers said this year’s standards were excellent from day one.

Professional adjudicator Patricia Hammond praised the young actors for their preparation and devotion to their work, and for their encouragement of each other.

Top marks of 90 and 91 were awarded to six-year-old Emily Carey, nine-year-old Jamie Hudson, and Danielle Edmunds in the 15 to 18 years category.

Hannah Legg and George Woodhead also got top marks for their duologue in the under 12 category and Kate Vogiatzis and Isabel Cox in the 16 years and over one.

Tickets for tomorrow’s finale can be booked from the White Rock Theatre box office on 01424 462288.