BEAUTIFUL harmonies and feel-good tunes kick-started the city’s biggest music festival.
The choir from Ditcham Park School near Petersfield opened the 2013 Portsmouth Music Festival with a delightful rendition of California Dreamin’.
Scores of people – many of them proud parents – sat in the audience at Portsmouth Guildhall for the opening concert.
By the end of Ditcham Park’s slot, the audience were clapping along and feet were tapping as the children belted out Lean On Me.
The concert featured some of the stand-out performers from last year’s festival.
Young Timothy Wainwright was exquisite as he performed Telemann’s Sonata in F on the recorder, accompanied by Christopher Burgess on the harpsichord.
There were also superb performances from vocalist Lewis Mackenzie accompanied by pianist Tamsin Brainwood, as well as Havant Clarinet and Saxophone Choir, conducted by Gemma Billington, and Seaview Strings, conducted by Caroline Gould.
It’s not all about music, however, and the audience were clearly impressed with the dance moves of the troupe from Hayley Sexton School of Dance.
The show was opened by Deputy Lord Mayor Cllr Lynne Stagg.
She remembered affectionately supporting her own children in music festivals.
She told the audience: ‘I know how important it is to support these youngsters.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know the children like having their parents there supporting.
‘I take great pleasure in declaring open this year’s Portsmouth Music Festival. Good luck to everyone taking part – enjoy yourselves!’
The festival was founded in 1917 and every year attracts hundreds of young performers.
The next few weeks will see young people performing in a variety of classes, including strings and guitar, recorder and woodwind, brass, rock and pop and contemporary vocal.
The festival will climax with a gala concert at The King’s Theatre on March 28.
Gwenda Dearsley, who chairs the festival, said: ‘It will be just as exciting as ever.’