The festival as a whole was a massive success and the standard this year was incredibly high, a fact commented on by all the adjudicators and clerks. Every single one of the girls who performed, conducted themselves with the utmost professionalism and was an absolute credit to the school. As one audience member said to me, “It’s such a pleasure to listen to these girls performing, but more than that, the way they behave says so much about the school. Thank you for bringing them.” It really does say so much about the school when members of the public notice things like that.

SO… Thursday was the day for the majority of the solo performances (and for me to run back and forth between venues) and we kicked off with the vocal classes. Emilia Blackwell and Ruby Allen were in a hotly contested class, but Emilia managed to achieve a merit and Ruby came second in the class with a highly commended! What a great way to start. This was then followed by a huge vocal solo class of 19 competitors in which Hattie Marsh and Poppy Wilson achieved a commended and Ruby Allen came second again with a fantastic distinction! Going on at the same time was the string class with Emilia Blackwell, Felicity Davies and Olivia Dyer all performing really strongly. Each of them scored a highly commended which was fantastic as they were up against really stiff competition from Ellesmere and others. This was then followed by Katie Richards who performed really well and gained a highly commended. Back over at the vocal classes, the music theatre was in full flow. This is possibly the most hotly contested class at this age vocally and the standard was breathtaking. These girls had been preparing for months!! Hattie Candler, Grace Parker, Freya Moxley and Emilia Blackwell all scored a commended, but were actually all within two or three points of the winner!
So ended day one.

Day two dawned bright and clear with only one class in the morning. This was the 15 and under musical theatre class, which was so large that it had to be split into two sections. In this class, if anything, the standard was even higher than I’d seen before! Representing Adcote in section one, we had Hattie Candler and Freya Moxley who were also the two youngest girls in the entire class, being 10 and 11. It was clear from the outset that both of them had used the previous day as a warmup as they put in simply stunning performances that truly brought a tear to my eye. It wasn’t just me who felt that way as, when the results came in, third place with a highly commended went to…Freya Moxley and First place with the first outstanding score of the festival went to…Hattie Candler!!!!! In the adjudicators own words, “This was a truly breathtaking performance in every way!” What a brilliant way to start the day. In the second section was Olivia Stone who sang beautifully and scored a highly commended. Then it was back to school to pick up the choirs and head back to the festival. The church was so packed when we got there that they struggled to find space for us inside, but find space they did eventually. In the 15 and under section we entered three choirs: Adcote Pops, Adcote Youth Choir and Adcote Glee Club. We were up against the might of Ellesmere College who’s name litters the trophy from recent years. All three choirs gave fantastically varied performances and then waited with baited breath for the adjudication. I must confess to slightly sweaty palms as we waited. Then it came. Third place…Adcote Pops, Second place…Adcote Youth Choir and First place with another outstanding score went to… Adcote Glee Club!!! A clean sweep for Adcote and another trophy for the cabinet. This was then followed by the 18 and under section in which Adcote Senior choir sang first. They gave two stunning performances and a special mention must go to Susanna. Hyaline and Aishling who accompanied them so well. They were then followed by Ellesmere College who were, to be honest, just one of the best choirs I have ever heard! They gave a performance of such skill and beauty that I was spellbound. I looked around as the final note faded away, expecting to see our girls looking disappointed and defeated. But no! As they finished, every single one of our girls roared their approval and admiration and gave the choir a standing ovation! I cannot express how proud I was of every single one of those girls for that truly spontaneous and selfless reaction. That is what sharing music is all about and is also what Adcote School engenders in its pupils. The result was almost irrelevant but we still came third with a highly commended.
And so ended day two.

Day three was Saturday and found me back in churches on the final day of the festival. In the vocal classes Seren Blackwell was very busy having back to back classes. In her first class she achieved a commended, but saved her best performance for last where she came in third place with a distinction. The final class of the festival for us was the 12 and under piano class. This was another massive class with 20 entrants including Amelia Livermore and Anabella Sussums-Lewis. Both girls had obviously prepared tirelessly and gave excellent performances. Amelia scored a highly commended, but Anabella rounded off the competition in style with yet another First Place and a distinction.

Thank you so much to all the staff who helped with the festival. Whether it was with logistics or in preparing the girls’ performances, thank you. A special mention must go to Mr Aston-Smith who has been a fantastic support and Mrs Emma Bouyac who has worked so hard to prepare all her pupils and was there at all three days of the festival.