Hundreds of future musical stars perform at 64th music festival

Tributes left outside Fareham Academy.

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180012-4)

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SINGING and playing their hearts out, scores of performers took to the stage to be judged at the 64th Gosport Music Festival.

The prestigious event is well-known on the musical circuit for providing a respected marker for potential stars.

HITTING THE HIGHS Faith Whittaker during her performance in the vocal solo costume category. Picture: Sarah Standing (133155-3971)

HITTING THE HIGHS Faith Whittaker during her performance in the vocal solo costume category. Picture: Sarah Standing (133155-3971)

The event was held at Bay House School, in Gosport, on Friday evening and all day Saturday.

Music and drama secretary Karen Bennett said: ‘It has gone very well.

‘We have had excellent entrants and an extremely high standard.

‘We have had entrants come from all over the south to perform.

‘We have been going 64 years and it is the biggest date on our calendar.

‘People want to enter because they know it is such a high standard.’

Tilly Kilby, eight, from Lee-on-the-Solent, sang Happy Talk from musical South Pacific.

Tilly said: ‘I like to sing because it is nice to be on stage.’

Rhianna Ward, from Stubbington, sang My Favourite Things from The Sound Of Music.

Rhianna, nine, said: ‘I picked that song because it was not too characterised and I could put a lot into it. It was fun to learn all the words. I think I did pretty well as I remembered all the actions and to do the right faces.’

Rhianna came second in her group with an impressive score of 87.

Performing for the first time in a festival was Amy Curd, from Lee-on-the-Solent.

Amy, 11, said: ‘It has been really good. I did one performance on Friday night and two on Saturday. I like getting into the song and showing people what I can do. I was a bit nervous as it’s my first but it was fun.’

Supporting Amy from the audience was dad Shaun Curd.

Shaun, 45, said: ‘I am very proud of her. She had a bit of a hiccup in one performance but she carried on and she still won. She was really brave.’

Adjudicating the Saturday singing performances and giving feedback after each round was Melanie Armitstead, from Somerset. Melanie is a well-known and respected adjudicator.

She was a soloist with many operas, has performed worldwide and is the senior singing teacher at Sherborne Girls in Dorset.

Melanie said: ‘It has been a lovely festival. There has been a tremendous variety - some new, some old - but they are all at different stages of development. It has been nice to see them all supporting each other.’