Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Saltburn Music Festival

Saltburn's "friendly" music festival will be held in two of the town's churches in early July - and organisers are trying to trace its history over the past 150 years.

Committee members Clare McCullagh, Pat Fleming, Sue Pierce, Sara Nelson, Caroline
 Scales and Joanne McCullagh with trophies for Saltburn music festival.
It has attracted 250 entries from all over the North-east.

"The mystery is where did it start. We think it evolved from Methodist festivals over the decades since the town was started in 1861," said Mrs Sue Pierce, coordinator of the seven-strong organising committee.

"We would love to hear any information on how the festival was started."

Mrs Pierce said the event, which attracts entries from all over the North-east, was known as the 'friendly festival' because of the way the organisers are flexible with entrants' wishes and strive to keep calm.

She said the festival would feature music from both instrumentalists and singers playing music from Beethoven to Lloyd Webber - "sonatas to songs from the shows."

An SOS appeal in early June brought in a £500 anonymous gift, which will help to pay the £4,000 costs.

The committee also needs more volunteers to help to run the event with jobs including refreshments, on the door, announcing classes or paperwork.

"Though we try very hard with fund-raising our funds are so low that it is likely we shall be unable to run the festival beyond this year," said Mrs Pierce before the £500 arrived.

"We offer a platform to youngsters, and the not-so-young, to perform and receive positive criticism. Entrants are aged from six to 60-plus. Our four adjudicators are all highly qualified and from different parts of the country."
They are Ann Lampard, Kathryn Page, Janet Howells and Pat Fleming.

Mrs Fleming, who is also a Saltburn-based committee member, said that the late Betty Middleton, founder of the Saltburn-based Betty Middleton Singers, was her singing teacher as a child.

Among internationally-known professional musicians and singers who have benefited from competing in the festival are Janet and Christine Lax, opera singer Anna Stephans (STEPHANS IS OK), Teesside opera singer Susannah Clarke, who is the festival's patron, Andrea Moore, who sang at Glyndebourne, and Saltburn singer Rowan Pierce, 21, who has won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London.

The festival takes place from 9.30am to 9pm on Friday July 1 at Emmanuel church, off Windsor Road, and the Methodist church, Milton Street, and on Saturday July 2 at the Methodist church only.

Tickets cost £1.50 per session or £3 for a day.

The festival is sponsored by Saltburn, Marske and New Marske Parish Council and 13 local businesses. It is a registered charity. The accompanists will be Andrew Pierce, Alison Gill and Charles Knowles.

The committee is Mrs Sue Pierce, coordinator, and members Mrs Fleming, Mrs Clare McCullagh, Joanne McCullagh, Sara Nelson, Caroline Scales and Julia Weeks.

More information can be had from Mrs Pierce 01287-622529, Mrs Fleming 01287-623526 or Mrs Scales 01287-624811.

Mike Morrisey

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