Music festival celebrates centenary

The 100th Galloway Music Festival is almost upon us.

The festival takes place from March 10-15 and the organisers are urging everyone to support all competitors.

Adjudicators have been booked, as have venues in Newton Stewart and Stranraer.

Fundraising efforts have taken place in the form of concerts and bag-packing at the local supermarket.

Entries have been submitted and a timetable is now drawn up.

Programmes have gone to print and so has the celebration booklet which will include photos from, and interesting comments about, past festivals.

In the early days the festival was made up of a few classes: verse speaking, singing and piano solos. As time progressed, other classes were added for school orchestras and choirs, and strings.

But compare that now with the syllabus for 2014 and you can see just how much the event has grown, partly through opportunities available to young people and community groups, but largely through the efforts of a dedicated committee, whose members, particularly the teachers among them, encourage, nurture and cajole the pupils as they prepare to perform on stage.

This year a total of 554 entries have been submitted for 77 classes, offering a platform to performers in a wide range of musical styles and instruments. Included are classical, jazz, folk and pop; solos, duos and larger groups; keyboard, brass, strings, woodwind, bagpipes; and voices, song and spoken verse; competitive and non-competitive.

There’s something for everyone, and everyone is invited to come and enjoy the music making for this very special festival.

All events, except the final concert, are free, and the public are welcome to attend as long there are enough seats available. The prize-winners’ concert will take place on Saturday, March 15. at 2pm. Tickets for this will be available during the festival week.

As this is such a special occasion an extra event has been organised. Adjudicator Murray McLachlan, himself a concert pianist of considerable renown who recently gave a stunning recital in Gatehouse of Fleet, will lead a master class for promising pianists. Up to 20 pupils may be chosen for this, and it will take place on Saturday, March 15, at 10.30am in the Cinema, Newton Stewart.

Take the opportunity of attending this and experience some of our local up and coming musical talent.