Musicians are on song to kick-start Portsmouth Schools’ Music Festival

IN TUNE A vocal ensemble begins the Musical Feast concert held at St Mary's Church in Fratton as part of the Portsmouth Music Festival.  Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (121992-1)

IN TUNE A vocal ensemble begins the Musical Feast concert held at St Mary's Church in Fratton as part of the Portsmouth Music Festival. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (121992-1)

Fareham MP Suella Fernandes, second right, and Minister of State for Schools The Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP, centre, with representatives from Portchester Community School  and Henry Cort Community College

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SCORES of musicians wowed crowds at the launch of a festival which will give thousands of young people the chance to perform on a stage.

Visitors got a teaser of some of the acts that will perform during Portsmouth Schools’ Music Festival at St Mary’s Church, in Fratton Road, Fratton, last night.

South Downs College student Rosie Kendall, 17, sang a rendition of Astonishing, which features in the musical Little Women.

Mozart’s Deh Vieni Non Tardar was performed by Elise Fairley, 18.

A string quartet, a brass band and other local classical singers performed during the evening.

The festival, which will run at Portsmouth Guildhall from July 3 and 6, will see students from over 40 schools perform solo and be part of mass choirs.

Elise, of Hilsea, will conduct one of the choirs at this year’s festival, which has been running for more than 50 years.

‘It’s going to be an amazing opportunity,’ she said.

‘I’ve never done anything like it before.

‘The response from everyone at the launch was very positive – everyone is looking forward to the big event now.

‘What I like about the festival is that it doesn’t just focus on one particular age group or musical style.

‘Everyone can be a part of it.’

Elise’s proud dad Paul Fairley, 44, said: ‘It’s been great seeing some of the performers get together before the festival.

‘I can remember being part of one of the festival’s choirs as a pupil at Milton Park Middle School back in the 1970s.’

Last night’s launch also helped to raise more than £200 for the church and the cost of hiring Portsmouth Guildhall for the festival.

The money was raised through a raffle and a teddy bear sweepstake.

The theme for this year’s festival is the Olympics and songs will be focused around people’s achievements.

Steve Tuck, 23, stage manager and treasurer for this year’s Portsmouth Music Schools’ Festival, said: ‘I’ve been involved in the festival since I was five.

‘At the time I was just one of the choir members.

‘The launch was about giving people an insight into what is going to be in store at the festival.

‘It’s an event that everyone looks forward to every year.

‘It’s the only opportunity that young people get to perform together and show off their musical and singing talents.’

Festival chairwoman Becky Hill, who has been in charge for four years, said: ‘The focus of the evening wasn’t just about raising money.

‘It was about raising the profile of the festival and encouraging as many people as possible to come along to it.

‘It’s an amazing event that attracts more than 1,000 performers.’

Tickets for the festival start at £4 each.

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