Festival spotlight on young talent

Lydia Wyatt, 11, at Rastrick High School, who has won three 1st places and two 2nd places at the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival last year
Lydia Wyatt, 11, at Rastrick High School, who has won three 1st places and two 2nd places at the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival last year

COMPETITORS from Brighouse and Rastrick are tuning up for the nine-day Mrs Sunderland Music Festival which starts in Huddersfield on February 18.

The 122nd festival has attracted 900 entries from across West Yorkshire in 130 competitive classes. A highlight of the festival will be the renowned gala evening which will be compered by Geoff Druett and which will showcase outstanding performers.

Chairman Michael Hampshire said: “We look forward to welcoming well over one thousand performers - both young and old - and we are proud to give them all a platform on which to gain valuable performing experience in a caring, supportive and constructive atmosphere.”

The festival will use Huddersfield Town Hall for competitive classes in singing, percussion, piano, orchestra and bands, woodwind, speech and drama and strings.

The festival is named after the famous soprano soloist Susan Sunderland, born in Brighouse in 1819. She first sang in public in 1833 and before long her outstanding vocal talents meant she was in demand throughout the West Riding and beyond.

Competitors from the Brighouse area will include soprano Rachel Crisp, of Clifton, who regularly takes part in the festival - and comes away with the silverware. Young musician Lydia Wyatt of Rastrick returns to compete in piano and woodwind sections and see if she can repeat the success of previous years.

Also taking part will be Rhian Cairns, Jacob Simpson, Matthew Wilson, Rebecca Carr, Eve King and Grace King, all of Rastrick High School, Andrew Featherstone of Clifton, Sophie Harris, Hannah Meehan, Isla Gaylor and Laura Sinfield of Brighouse, and Grace Pollard of Rastrick.