THE HASTINGS Musical Festival chairman Molly Townson, presented a memorable display by winners and winning teams from March 2012, and representative school groups in an evening of sterling performances accompanied by the professional magic of the Sussex Concert Orchestra and its director Kenneth Roberts.
From the opening with Sir Edward Elgar’s setting of the National Anthem, the rarely-heard verses sung by soprano Lesley Moore, through to the grand finale with the White Rock’s stage filled with Union flag-waving schoolchildren, the pace never flagged.
Imaginative choreography combining pointe and demi-pointe according to age came from the Laton Ash Dance Centre, whose Dave Hooper compered the event, Nicola Rodmell’s School of Performing Arts, Mary Ann Pollock, the Oakhurst Dance Studios and Jonathan Day.
Lily Lindon‘s treble recorder was heard in a sequence from Gordon Jacob’s Prelude alla Rumba accompanied by the orchestra.
From Shakespeare came the Three Witches from Macbeth with Lydia Gilbert, Caitlin Townsend and Molly Cesares, aided by Joel Ballam. From Romeo and Juliet came a monologue by Giles Sparks.
Clifton Holliser gave a comedy monologue on the subject of ‘Pismonouncation’ and Danny Holland’s guitar whisked us to Scotland with dancers Lea Goddard, Lauren Gooch and Ami Piper.
Pupils from Charles Ancaster, Pebsham CP and Sedlescombe CE Schools wearing appropriate headgear closed Part One with the story that A Policeman’s Lot is not a Happy One.
Kirstie Wilde opened Part Two with a laughter-provoking mime about a balloon.
Numbers from Oliver! included solos by Will Cousins and Emma Stace Darling. Scenes from Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers were played by Tyler Vallance and Finn Paterson with their older selves by Theo Gregory and Declan Mason.
The highspot came with Sea Peace an amalgam of music by Kenneth Roberts, poetry and song by Emma Stace Darling, Natalie Molloy on solo piano, the Charles Ancaster Speaking Group and Molly Townson’s Cantabile ensemble.
This heart-warming evening ended on a high note, literally, with traditional melodies, Molly herself taking the solo in Rule Britannia.