IT’S been an integral part of the local music community since the end of the First World War.
Now Portsmouth Music Festival is back for another year – and at the weekend the first categories of the event got under way.
People of all ages showed off their talents in the speech and drama section at Park Community School, in Middle Park Way, Havant.
The stars of the show included Portsmouth Grammar School pupil Aelfred Hillman, 12, who picked up The Junior Verse Reading Trophy after acting out Mark Anthony’s speech in William Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar.
Charlotte Smith, who competed in the 14 and 15 years category, won The Holland Cup after blowing away the judges with her Shakespeare solo performance. There was also much to be seen from string instrument players, who performed at Cosham Baptist Church, Cosham, and Mayfield School, North End.
Violinist Laia Montserrat, 16, came away with two honours.
Laia, who travelled from Luton to take part, said: ‘I feel happy about my achievements.
‘This is the first time I’ve taken part and I wanted to because it’s such an important competition which is held in a very nice place.’
Festival chairwoman Gwenda Dearsley said: ‘The adjudicator commented on the quality of the performances – particularly those on lower grades.’
There are 11 categories in total and the best musicians will be selected to perform at the festival’s closing concert at The Kings Theatre, in Southsea, on March 28.