Festival sure to hit the high notes

Last year's Blue Riband winner was saxophinist Alasdair Rennet.
Last year's Blue Riband winner was saxophinist Alasdair Rennet.

The 82nd Arbroath Musical Festival will open with a bang next week thanks to the talents of young percussionists in Angus and Dundee.

Programmes for the prestigious annual musical competition are available now and according to the schedule it is the young percussionists who lead off on Monday morning at the Webster Memorial Theatre.

Renowned Scottish percussionist Pamella Dow will be judging classes such as snare drum, timpani and tuned percussion, with many of the entrants taught by well-known instructors Paul judge and Kenny Carlyle.

In the Assembly Hall ‘Scottish Songs’ open the Monday morning programme and in the afternoon young violinists will take part in their elements.

The Assembly evening session is given over to piano solos and an instrumental recital class. The adjudicators are Dorothy Howden and Barry Clark both of whom have been in Arbroath in previous years.

On Wednesday it is the turn of the school choirs from Dundee and Angus to perform at the Webster Memorial Theatre, and it is expected that at any one time around 300 children will be in the auditorium having been ferried to and fro by buses kindly supplied by Sir Brian Soutar of Stagecoach.

Also on Wednesday in the Assembly Hall young recorder, woodwind and string players will showcase their talents; and in the evening senior competitors take part in duets, Gilbert & Sullivan and operatic solo classes.

Thursday classes include: recorder solos and duets; Scottish fiddle; school instrumental ensembles; piano recital and piano duets.

In the evening senior competitors will compete in several competitions in the Webster Memorial Theatre and younger competitors will play in the Beethoven and Haydn / Mozart piano classes while senior instrumentalists will play in the Assembly Hall.

On Friday in the Old and Abbey Church young and not so young brass players will give their performances with adjudications by Bryan Allen on his first visit to Arbroath.

Later that day old friend of the festival and a former Blue Riband winner, now a highly acclaimed guitarist, Allan Neave, will give his comments to young guitarists from throughout Angus.

At the morning session in the Webster Theatre five choirs from Inverbrothock Primary School will show their talent in verse speaking and dramatised nursery rhyme classes and rural school choirs take part in their school choirs section.

The afternoon is given over to light popular musical solos and duets including ‘Les Miserables’, ‘South Pacific’ and many others.

Friday evening is billed as a concert and will feature In Harmony Ladies’ Choir, Carnoustie Choir and performances by Festival winners chosen by the adjudicators.

This will be followed by the announcement of the premier awards and the winner of The Blue Riband 2014.

A festival spokesperson added: “The committee are hopeful that the Arbroath public will support this year’s event by engaging in the performances by young and not quite so young participants. We are sure that there will be something in the programme to suit everyone’s taste.”

Programmes are now on sale at Haqs, High Street, and Keptie Newsagents. Tickets can be purchased in advance from the Webster Theatre box office which is open 1 to 6 p.m., Tuesday to Friday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on a Saturday, or call 01241 435800.