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Jazz harp enthrals audience at Music Festival

Harpist Eliza Bradbury from Haverfordwest High V.C. School was the overall winner at this year’s Secondary Schools Valero Music Festival.

The annual festival, which is organised by the Pembrokeshire County Council Music Service and sponsored by Valero, took place at Ysgol Caer Elen recently after a three year hiatus due to the Pandemic.

Over 120 young musicians from each of the County’s eight county secondary schools, Pembrokeshire College and further afield took part in individual and ensemble competitions throughout the day.

Later in the afternoon, an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a ‘Spotlight’ concert showcasing the individual winners and the winners of the instrumental and vocal ensemble competitions. During the day, every performer who was placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd   in their class received a badge in recognition of their achievement.

Music Service Manager Philippa Roberts proudly said; “‘After a three-year pause we are delighted to have been able to provide, with the continued support from Valero, a platform for Pembrokeshire’s young musicians which showcases their resilience and dedication to music.

“Offering these valuable opportunities in an encouraging and supportive environment will ensure we develop ambitious, capable and creative learners which are key aspects of the New Music Plan for Wales.

“Thanks also go to ‘The Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians’ for providing refreshments and who continue to support the Music Service at all events throughout the year.”

Timothy Angel, vocal adjudicator, expressed his admiration for the day. “It was a wonderful festival which highlighted the very high standards of the pupils and staff of Pembrokeshire Music Service. It is always an honour to adjudicate and with the events of the last two years, a joy to see so many participants.”

The overall winner, harpist Eliza Bradbury (pictured, above with the other Open Competition winners and Stephen Thornton of Valero and Philippa Roberts) was presented with the Overall Winners’ Cup by Head Adjudicator Timothy Angel.

Earlier in the day Eliza, who won the Open piano/harp competition, performed ‘Ten Past Two’ by Mark Glentworth.

Winner of the Open Woodwind competition was Anya Beynon-Krampf from Greenhill School who performed ‘Nocturne’ by Boulanger.

The Open String competition winner was violinist Jenifer Rees from Redhill School who performed ‘Polish Dance’ by Severn.

The Open Jazz winner was Dylan Sanders-Swales from Haverfordwest High VC School who performed his own arrangement of ‘Caravan’.

Dylan was also the winner of the Open Percussion class. He performed ‘Page 1”’ by Tower of Power.

Carys Wood from Greenhill School was the winner of the Open Brass class and performed ‘Zelda’ by Percy Code.

The Open Vocal Competition was won by Heledd Richardson from Pembrokeshire College who sang ‘Quia Respexit’ by JS Bach.

The Open Vocal Ensemble class winners were a Vocal trio from Haverfordwest High VC School – Ruby Panesar, Honey Johnston and Libby Banner performed ‘Rwyn dy weld yn sefyll’ (pictured below with Stephen Thornton).

The Open Instrumental Ensemble competition was won by Haverfordwest High VC School Band, who performed ‘Last train to London’ (pictured below with Stephen Thornton).

The invited professional adjudicators – Timothy Angel, vocal; Denis Mahoney, ensemble; Christopher Vale, woodwind; Robin Hackett, brass; Jane Gregory, strings; Bethan Harkin, piano and harp; Melanie Walker, instrumental; Peter Morgan, percussion and Jazz – were greatly impressed with the high standard and strength of schools’ music on show from across the County.

County Music Service events coordinator Miranda Morgan thanked the adjudicators, teachers, parents and students for making the Festival such a success.

“I think it’s fair to say we had a fantastic day of musical enjoyment, and all should be proud for their fabulous performances throughout the day. We are so grateful to the adjudicators for sharing their time with our pupils as well as to the staff, parents and pupils for supporting the event. It is wonderful to see live music thriving in our County again.”