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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

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Budding jazz stars take centre stage at Carlisle Cathedral

Jazz notes filled the air of Carlisle Cathedral’s Fratry as young musicians gave their best performances in front of an appreciative audience.

Carlisle music festival photo
Ella Parry, from Austin Friars St Monica's School

They were taking part in this year’s Carlisle and District Music and Drama Festival and the morning session included recorder and woodwind solo categories.

Robin Regan, a 10-year-old clarinet player from Caldbeck School, only started playing the instrument last September and this was his first big performance.

He chose to play the jazz composition Jumping, by James Rae, in the woodwind solo category because he thought it would be a nice choice for the festival. “I was quite nervous and it was a different experience for me,” he said.

All the performances were judged by Jeffrey Wynn Davies and Robin said he had been given some good feedback and advice. “He gave me some good tips,” he added.

Ella Parry, 10, of Austin Friars St Monica’s School, has played the clarinet for two years and performed Witches Dance.

She said: “There were some constructive comments and I will be back next year because I like music.”

Mieke Tennant, the festival’s stewards secretary, said the number of entries was well up on last year with larger classes. She said: “It’s been hectic for us but I like it that way.”

She has been involved in helping to organise the festival for the past 10 years and originally volunteered because her daughter entered the singing categories.

“I can see the change, it’s different every year, one year we had lots of accordions but we haven’t got any this year,” she said. “The schools are very active this year.”

Across in St Cuthbert’s Church, 19 girls aged nine and under entered the solo verse speaking category – all reading Only Snow by Allan Ahlberg. The eventual winner was nine-year-old Freya McCall from Austin Friars St Monica’s School who said she was “excited but a little bit nervous”.

All of the entries were judged by Hilary Clulow who awarded two joint second places.

Emily Airey, nine, who attends Hunter Hall School, said the judge had said she had captured the “character and mood” and also “brought the poem to life”.

Fellow second prize winner was Lily Shannon, an eight-year-old from Austin Friars St Monica’s school who said she was not at all nervous. Organisers expect more than 2,000 competitors to take part during the week-long festival


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