The weather may have been wet and cold last week but nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of everyone who took part in the 103rd Alderley Edge Festival of Music, Speech and Drama.
Over 2000 children and young people took part in the annual event which started last Tuesday and finished on Saturday evening with a spectacular concert in the Festival Hall.
Amongst the competitors were a choir who had flown in specially from the Isle of Man for the Festival.
Festival President, Marie Grant said: "Despite having to contend with a delayed flight and only just arriving in time, the Buchan Eagles Choir came first in their class and took home the Thelwall Trophy. Understandably, they couldn't join us for the finale on Saturday night, but we are thrilled that our Festival is so highly regarded that schools come from near and far to take part."
Saturday night's Finale was opened with the Cheshire Chord Company who performed a medley of 'Make 'Em Laugh' and 'That's Entertainment' with a dash of Robbie Williams.
Other performers at the Finale were the talented brothers Jake (12) and Joe Butler Smith (13) who delighted the audience with songs from 'Me and My Girl' and 'Chicago'. Jake and Joe came first and second respectively in the Alderley Junior Singer of the Year.
Another sibling duo at the Finale were twins Harry and Katie Hiscocks (11) who gave a polished performance of 'Honey Bees', a poem from the perspectives of a queen bee and one of her put-upon workers.
The family connection was also evident when one of the Festival's official accompanists, Stewart Death, played alongside his saxophonist daughter, Jessica (17). They wowed the audience with their jazz piece 'Sonata for Saxophone' which included improvised passages for both instruments. Corinna Knuckey (Yr 5) sent shivers down spines with her performance of the traditional Maori love song 'Pokarekare Ana'.
After the interval, feet were tapping once more to the Cheadle Hulme School Senior Brass Ensemble, as they played Superstition and Crocodile Rock. Then Oliver Turner (18), who won the title of 'Alderley Young Singer of the Year', sang a very moving a cappella version of 'She Moved Thro' the Fair'.
Amongst the other performers was James, who not only played the clarinet but was also one of a trio of witches with George Montaldo and James. Lily completed the ensemble, playing a little boy who is turned into a mouse by the wicked witches. This talented little group won the Steele Cup for Group Drama for Years 6 and under.
Irina Green played her tiny cello, demonstrating how she had won her String Solo Class for NC Years 4-6, nd Jasmine De Goede (13) gave a powerful portrayal of Juliet's death scene, which won her the Shakespearean Cup and also the Sara Roache Cup for outstanding drama.
Rounding off the Finale was cellist Nathanael Horton (18) who played 'Hungarian Rhapsody' by David Popper. He won first place in the class for Strings (Yrs 10-13) where he was up against other extraordinarily gifted musicians.
Compere Anna Meadmore informed the audience that this talented young man had won a scholarship to the Guildhall in London to complete his musical studies. He was also presented with the Jill Copping Cup by Festival President, Marie Grant. This cup is awarded to the performer who has given the most outstanding musical performance across the Festival.
Jonathan Meadmore, Chairman of the Alderley Edge Festival, said "This year's festival, the 103rd Alderley Edge Festival was absolutely wonderful. It is such a privilege to listen to live music being played or sung and also to watching exceptional talent on the theatrical stage. This year we had an afternoon of Shakespeare and one of the performers was asked if she would like to repeat the performance at the finale. She was brilliant. So, too, were the singers and instrumentalists who wowed their audiences with magnificent performances.
"The Festival provides young people with opportunities to perform on the public stage which if they continue to do it throughout their early and teenage years will stand them in good stead in later life in business. As the new chairman I have been very moved by the enormous talent that there is within the North West. That includes the Isle of Man from where one of our winning choirs came. The committee is so enthusiastic about the Festival and already we are all looking forward to the organisation which goes into the next Festival, our 104th, in May 2020."
Photographs courtesy of Cheetham Photography.