The Northumberland Music Festival is launching an new series of awards, aimed at discovering and promoting the classical - and otherwise - musical talents of the North East.
Timed to coincide with the climax of the Festival, which takes place at Doxford, Eshott and Guyzance Halls during weekends from November 14 to 30, the awards will be held on November 29 at Eshott Hall, Morpeth with the winners and runners up from two of the four categories being invited to attend a masterclass with celebrated operatic bass, Graeme Danby the following day.
Graeme leads the cast of the festival, which promises an eclectic entertainment menu featuring classical, opera, traditional and revue offerings, as well as gourmet dinners at all three fine houses.
Rossini’s The Barber of Seville from Heritage Opera, a performance from the British Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and the return of the Northumberland Ranters, who have become the Festival’s resident music makers since it began in 2010 are among the many treats on offer.
But back to the awards. The first in their type in the Northumberland area, they have been split into four categories in order to encourage interest from all ages.
Covering instrumental music and singing styles from own choice to opera, the awards are being held as part of the fourth Annual Northumberland Music Festival, and will be taking entries from now until will be held as part of the 4th Annual Northumberland Music Festival, and the entry period for all four classes is now open.
The Young Person’s Class is aimed at any young singer between the ages of eight and 15. The class calls for any choice of song, as long as it’s no longer than three minutes.
The Open Instrumental Class is open to anyone over eight, performing for three minutes on the instrument of their choice.
The Opera Class moves into more serious ground, and is open to anyone over 16. They must choose an operatic aria, of no more than six minutes long.
The Open Song Class is aimed at the over 16s, and excludes opera.
Robert Parker the owner of Eshott, Doxford, Guyzance Halls - and the brains behind the festival - said: “We are delighted to announce the arrival of the awards this year to complete the Northumberland Music Festival.
“We know there is so much musical talent in the area, and we really want to give people a chance to shine. It is with thanks to Graeme Danby that we are able to offer the winners and runners up in classes three and four, the opportunity to take part in a master class with him.”
The classes will be adjudicated by National Music Festivals Adjudicator Gordon Pearce, who was also senior music adviser for North Yorkshire Education Authority.
Trophies will be awarded for the winner of each class and there will be more prizes announced nearer to the time.
The Tyneside Piano Company Ltd, of Ashington, is sponsoring the competition’s trophy and prize spoils.
Director, Barry Lusher said: “We are very pleased to be sponsoring the competition. Music is our business and of course we are excited to be encouraging people who enjoy performing to others.”
The competition will take place in the Ballroom at Eshott Hall, and entry is free. It is open to individuals, members of clubs and societies, school, college and university students, throughout the region as long as they live in the Northumberland or North Tyneside area.
:: Anyone interested in applying should download an application form from the NMF website www.nmfestival.co.uk and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, it can be sent to the Festival Office, Northumberland Music Festival, Cheviot Centre, Wooler, NE71 6BL.