AMAZING performances have been on display during Carlisle's music and drama extravaganza.

The Carlisle and District Music Festival started on Monday, March 9, in St Cuthbert's Church, Blackfriars Street in the city centre and St Georges United Reformed Church.

Parents packing the aisles to hear their children perform in scores of competitions ranging from poetry reciting, choir and musical instruments.

Those with budding talents found themselves coming under the scrutiny of judges from the British Federation of Adjudicators.

Yesterday, Thursday, March 11, Wreary CE Primary School Melodic Minor Choir, in Carlisle, won the Junior Choirs competition - for schools consisting of 35 children or more.

On Monday Oliver Clark-Maxwell, 9, from Austin Friars School Etterby Scaur, Carlisle, came top, performing in the Percussion solo class for the under 11s- on drums.

He said: "It was a nice experience, very exciting."

On Monday was one of the judges for the class three test trophy where 31 competitors, aged 7 and under, recited the poem Copycat by Robert Heidbreder for the Blencathra Trophy.

Isabella Walby, 7, also from Austin Friars School, Carlisle, came out as the winner.

She said: "I'm speechless."

Also coming joint second was Alana Hope, from Bishop Yards School of Dance & Performing Arts, and Alexa-Rose Jackson, 7, from Austin Friars.

Alexa-Rose said: "I'm very happy."

Speech and drama teacher at Austin Friars, Louise Lewis, said: "I'm absolutely over the moon - there is lots of work that goes into this - we have been working on this since January."

Vivienne Cunningham, an adjudicator said: "I'm amazed with the standards of the children, there's a great atmosphere and I have to say that the organisers have done such a good job."

The Carlisle and District Music and Drama Festival and it originated in 1896, it has organised an annual festival ever since .

The festival is running until Saturday, March 14 and will finish with a Gala performance that showcases all the outstanding musicians, dramatists and singers.

On Wednesday pianists took centre stage with a brave trio, six handed, performance by twins Eleanor and Isabel Grimshaw and Darby Woof, 10 - all from Kingmoor Junior School.

The twins were celebrating their birthday on the day.

Darby said she was "ecstatic", the twins said the were "very pleased".

On the same day Medhini Varma, 14, from Queen Elizabeth Grammar School, Penrith, who took the honours for the pianoforte solo test trophy for 13 to 14-year-olds.

She said: "I'm very relieved and very happy because I thought I would not win."

Second place was Isabella Briggs, 14, from William Howard School, in Brampton, who said"I'm really pleased with it because I'm been learning a long time."

Proud mum of Medhini Kim Varma, from Dalston, said: "It is very nice because they have worked so hard and it seems like she got her reward."

Also on Wednesday the winners of the duet, four handed competition was announced for those 13 to 17 years old.

Taking the honours was Alexa Brooks, 13, from Austin Friars and Gwyneth Melling from Austin Friars and Queen Elizabeth Grammar Schol, Penrith respectively.

Alexa said: "It has been a great experience."

Carlisle and District Music and Drama Festival was established in 1896, it has organised an annual Festival in Carlisle ever since. Traditionally, it takes place around the second week of March.

The festival is running until tomorrow, Saturday, March 14 - the final event will be a gala.