All posts by Gay and Alan Cooper

A Big Thank You!

Wantage Music Festival would like to say a very big thank you to those whose generosity has helped to make this year’s Festival possible despite the threat of Covid-19.

  • To Waitrose and the people of Wantage for their donation through the Community Matters (green token) scheme
  • To Graham Blyth for the loan of his Shigeru Kawai grand piano
  • To James Mitchell and Opera Unmasked for sponsoring the redesign and printing of the syllabus and publicity materials and also for his work liaising with other sponsors.
  • To NatWest and Co-operative Banks for the RBS bank switch scheme and the cash incentive we received to switch accounts to one more suited to our needs at the Co-operative Branch.
  • To 34SP for website hosting
  • To those who donated prizes: the Guild of King Alfred Players (John Durrant and John Miller prizes), Wantage Town Council (Wantage Town Shield), Opera Unmasked (Opera Unmasked Prize), Alan Cooper (Ken Cooper Cup) and Challow Park Music Trust (Challow Park Chamber Music Prize)
  • To the anonymous donors of additional money to the John Durrant prize fund so that prizes could be given to three outstanding young musicians in the absence of a Festival finale play off this year.
  • And to those who donated through the new facility on the website or QR code. To quote a well-known phrase “every little helps”.

FESTIVAL UPDATE – JOIN US AT THE AGM

2021 and 2022

We were so pleased to be able to run a festival this year even though it wasn’t like any other year. And we were delighted by the number of entries and the positive responses from participants, both during and after the event, particularly about the venue. We certainly hope to be able to run a more ‘normal’ festival at the usual time in 2022 and are already negotiating with Wantage Methodist Church to use it again. Challow Park has been our home since 2007 but are fully supportive of our move to the town centre. They have offered, for the next few years, to lend us one of their excellent pianos to use for the piano competitions.

Annual General Meeting

Of course, there is much planning and organising to do before June 2022 and the next event on our calendar is our AGM, on Thursday 14th October at 8pm. We have decided to run it on Zoom, as we did last year. All are welcome and we are keen to have the views of participants and teachers about how to shape the festival for next year. If you would like to come email chair@wantagemusicfestival.org.uk and we will send you an invitation to the Zoom meeting. If you are unavailable for the AGM, we’re happy to receive written comments at least two days prior to the meeting.

WMF needs you!

Two committee members have moved on to spend more time on their own creative activities so we are looking for at least two of our supporters – participants, parents and teachers – with a couple of hours a month to spare, to join our team. Please consider this.

Donations Welcome

We have made several changes as part of our Covid Policy this year, and, for one year only, will not receive any income from sales of programmes or refreshments or from tickets for listeners – we are going cashless this year.

We would welcome donations small or large, however. You can donate using the QR code or donate button on the Donations page.

2021 Programme Available Here

We are not selling our usual detailed programme this year as we are reducing paper handling and eliminating cash handling as part of our Covid Policy. You can now read or download a schedule of performances from our Programme pages.

We regret to remind you that only those registered with us (e.g. as a supporter of one of the performers) will be able to come and listen this year as we have had to limit audience numbers.

Looking Forward to This Year’s Festival

After many months of making music at home or online we are excited to be able to hold an in-person event this year. Because Covid is unfortunately still a reality we are running a smaller Festival this year, but we have had a good response from entrants and are looking forward to two good days of music making.

We have been working hard to ensure this year’s Festival is safe for everyone, and entrants will have already been informed of some changes in our procedures. See here for more information on our Covid Policy.

We have a different venue this year. Wantage Methodist Church in the town centre is able to be Covid-secure and we are grateful for the opportunity to hold the Festival there. See here to find out where to go.

Entries For 2021 Have Now Closed!

Entries have now closed so if you haven’t got your 2021 entries in we are afraid you are too late for this year. Do come and perform next year!

Online entries closed at 11:59pm on Friday 23rd April and paper entries had to reach the entry secretary on that day. We had to finalise the adjudicators’ hours the very next day!

We are pleased to have received a number of entries in our wide range of instrumental,  vocal and miscellaneous classes and are now busy planning our programme for the two days. The piano and instrumental day will be particularly full.

We are also finalising our procedures to make sure the Festival is Covid-secure – more information nearer the time. If we should have to cancel your class or if you have to withdraw because of Covid symptoms or if you have to self-isolate don’t worry – we’ll refund your entry fee so you won’t lose out.

 

 

Introducing our Adjudicators and Accompanist for 2021

We are delighted to introduce our adjudicators and accompanists for 2021! All are highly experienced musicians with extensive experience of performing and teaching.

They and their pupils have considerable experience of performing at a high level both nationally and internationally, so they know what it is like to perform in a competition. They also know how to communicate their love of music through both their singing or playing and their teaching.

For the entrants it is a chance to have their performance evaluated by a top professional. Each performer receives a certificate as well as a mark-sheet with helpful comments on their performance.

For those who come to listen it is like attending a masterclass as they hear the performances followed by the adjudicators’ summing up, often with tips to help the performers develop their singing or playing.

Our performers also have the opportunity to be accompanied by our highly qualified official accompanist at no extra cost. We regret that due to Covid-19 precautions it will not be possible for performers to bring their own accompanist this year.

This year we are delighted to welcome Paul Turner again as our official accompanist. He has wide experience in Britain and overseas in many genres and competitors and listeners alike have enjoyed his sensitive accompaniments at previous Festivals. He will have available the world class 6ft 7in Shigeru Kawai concert sized grand piano kindly loaned by Graham Blyth.

 

Calling All Performers! The 2021 Syllabus is Now Out!

We are pleased to announce that the 2021 Festival Syllabus is now available. So if you, or your child or your pupil, are an enthusiastic or aspiring singer or musician, download the syllabus now and see what classes you would like to enter.

You have the opportunity to perform in front of a sympathetic audience and a highly qualified adjudicator who will provide helpful advice while assessing you, and you will receive a written adjudication and a certificate. You will be able to enjoy hearing other performers. If you do really well you may even get the chance to  be considered for one of our cash prizes or trophies.

There is a not to be missed opportunity to be accompanied at no extra cost by our widely experienced accompanist.

We have classes for all ages from 9 and under to 55 and over, singers in many genres, instruments including strings (guitars as well as orchestral), woodwind, brass, piano. percussion, small group classes including a chamber music class and an Entertainment Class for soloists and household groups. Group classes will have to obey social distancing rules at the time but household groups will always be allowed.

Happy New Year! 2021 Festival.

We wish you a Happy New Year, and we hope 2021 will be better than 2020!

Although Wantage is currently in near lockdown, they say it is always darkest just before dawn! With the hope given by the new vaccines and the spring and summer weather to come we are now busy planning the 2021 Festival.

 

We cannot yet be sure when it will be safe for our lives to get back to normal so we have to plan to run the Festival in a Covid-secure way. So it will be shorter than usual, with fewer classes to allow adequate social distancing, ventilation and cleaning between classes, but there will still be something for everyone. Watch this space for further information, or like our Facebook page.

 

We look forward to seeing you in June. In the meantime we can all continue to enjoy music at home, whether singing, playing or listening – there are some great resources online! And if you find anything online that you think others might like, including YouTube or Facebook videos of yourself, why not share it on the Wantage Music Festival Facebook page?