2017 Festival Review
The 2017 New Milton Music Festival finished in real style on Sunday March 26th with perhaps one of the best Gala Concerts yet. In the presence of local dignitaries including the mayor of New Milton, 18 soloists, duets, choirs and instrumental ensembles performed to a packed house, proving once again that New Milton truly does have talent!
Notable solo performances included young violinist Isabelle Stevens, talented harpist Rosie Gill and junior vocalist Camilla Brebbia whose rendition of 'I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables was simply stunning. The Durlston Court Chamber Choir introduced a Gospel theme to the evening with their wonderful interpretation of 'Climbing up the Mountain' and the concert finished with an atmospheric steel drum performance courtesy of the Priestlands Panning for Steel Band.
The concert also featured group performances by the Ballard Chamber Ensemble, the Ballard Senior Chamber Choir, the Ballard String Ensemble, the Flute Group, Eclipse (Reuben Donvito and Ella Whettingsteel) and Helen Newton and Nigel Pasby as well as solos by Jake Bartlett, Bunnie Greenhalgh (who performed an original composition), Jemimah Hughes, Serene Tan, Jack Ogden, Anne Terry and Joe Constable. Well done to all!
The Festival piano classes were held at Durlston Court School on March 18th. All other classes were held at The Arnewood School on the weekend of March 25th and 26th. Over the two weekends, medals and trophies were awarded to competitors of all ages and abilities from beginners to Grade 8 and beyond. For the first time, the Festival also introduced Open Classes in all categories for those who prefer performance to competition.
Sadly, both Cynthia Mason and Tony Kidman have announced that the 2017 Festival was their last. Cynthia has been our percussion Section Secretary for many years and was, in fact, responsible for introducing percussion classes to the Festival. She has been a passionate and inspirational teacher to many aspiring percussionists and it is wholly fitting that our percussion adjudicator this year was one of her former pupils. Tony on the other hand has been Chairman of the Festival committee for 11 years during which time he worked tirelessly to plan, coordinate and administer the event with the Festival's partners and sponsors. Quite how he managed to look so fresh as compere of the annual Gala Concert after spending every waking hour of the festival weekend 'on duty' we don't know; it's a long crescendo of effort that spans almost the entire year and underpins the enjoyment of all those taking part and watching. Thank you Cynthia and Tony; your dedicated service will be hugely missed!
Thank you also to the New Milton, New Forest and Highcliffe Rotary clubs and the Lions Club who once again provided much appreciated support and sponsorship, both vital to the successful running of the event, and to Linda Harland and the rest of the Festival Committee who worked tirelessly behind the scenes.