From: Cllr Richard Street, Labour Councillor for Ore, Winchelsea Road, Hastings
I was interested to read the letter from Brenda Anson of Sedlescombe in last week’s paper (“Wake up and enjoy the music”) in which she applauds the “fine and inspirational” Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition but regrets the lack of interest from “many of our politicians, nationally and also I suspect locally [who] shy away from being seen to be associated with something deemed to be ‘elitist’.”
I can assure her that many local politicians very much appreciate this wonderful competition which is able to entice the finest young pianists from across the globe and one of the finest orchestras, the Royal Philharmonic, to the White Rock Theatre.
If such excellence is considered “elitist” then long may it continue. At least six Hastings councillors, myself included, attended one or both of the finals as well as other stages and many others active in local politics also attended. If you look at the list of Members and Patrons, you will see the names of several local political activists.
Hastings Council most definitely embraces, promotes and supports the event though massive cuts to funding prevent it from making a financial contribution. It is wonderful that philanthropists like the Kowitz Family Foundation make such a significant contribution to this and other aspects of the cultural life of Hastings. With bright yellow posters and placards all over the town, it’s hard to believe that any local resident or visitor was unaware of the competition taking place, as Ms Anson suggests. It was also widely promoted as part of the Hastings and Rother Music Month.
I would just like to conclude with a massive thank you to all of those who worked so hard and gave up so much of their time voluntarily to bring some of the world’s finest musicians to Hastings.
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