101st Festival showcases wealth of local talent

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The 101st Alderley Edge Festival took place earlier this month during which over 2300 talented young performers took to the stage.

Run by a dedicated team of 24 volunteers, who were assisted by over 70 helpers during the five day event, the festival showcased both budding and accomplished performers, from reception children to Grade 8 virtuosos.

They competed in 117 music classes covering all instruments and vocal as well as 51 speech and drama classes, which were held in venues around the village - including local schools, churches and the recently refurbished Festival Hall.

The 2017 Festival kicked off on Tuesday, 2nd May, with the Junior Choirs for pupils in Year 6 and under. The two Classes being won by Alderley Edge School for Girls and Stockport Grammar.

The Year 3 and Under Choir Class was won by Pownall Hall School, with Stockport Grammar again, winning the Year 9 and under choir Class. The evening showcased the Junior Singer of The Year (for students in Years 7 to 9) which was won by Joe Butler-Smith, a pupil at Manchester Grammar.

The high standard was maintained from Wednesday through to Saturday in the Music and Speech and Drama classes. Amongst the highlights was the Young Singer of The Year (Years 10-13) which went to Ceferina Perry, a lower sixth student at Manchester High School.

Keith Lowe, Chairman of Alderley Edge Festival, said "She really has the potential to be one of the best singers to appear at The Festival and is destined to higher things with her singing."

The Young Thespian of The Year (Years 10-13) was won by Oliver Rushton, a student at Kings School Macclesfield and a winner of many classes over the years at The Alderley Edge Festival who looks set for a bright future as an actor.

Whilst the Junior Thespian of The Year (Years 7-9) was won by Heidi Lynn, a student at Cheadle Hulme School.

Then on Saturday evening the Festival Finale attracted over 200 guests who were treated to performances from a selection of this year's talented winners.

Keith Lowe, Chairman of Alderley Edge Festival, commented "Little did we know when we started, what an amazing Festival this was going to be. Thanks to hard work of both the performers and their teachers the standard of the playing, singing and acting was so high that there were more performers in the 'Outstanding' category (90+ marks) than ever before. This is reflected in the number of performers who would normally win a Class with a score of 90, but have come up against performers scoring 91, 92 and 93 – and deservedly so.

"It is a testament to the ability of the performers, and the skill of the adjudicators that give these marks, of the real commitment they have to making a marvellous Festival."

The Alderley Edge Festival is now 106 years old, they missed out 5 festivals during the war, and is believed to be the second oldest festival in the UK that is completely run by volunteers.

The aim of the Alderley Edge Festival is 'to encourage and provide a conduit through public performances for young people, to express themselves through music, speech and drama and to showcase and nurture this talent in the performing arts' and in so doing it provides a platform for all participants to perform to an audience and receive an independent professional adjudication on their performance with guidance presented orally and in written form.

Keith Lowe commented "We still believe in the ideal that the youth of today are talented in the arts and will always have something to offer. This talent is in all of us, and if, as a Society, we can nurture even a small amount of that talent, then we are making a difference. It is this difference that keeps us working so hard to make the Festival what it is."

Alderley Edge Festival