Festival piping starts tomorrow

ARBROATH Academy will resonate with the sound of pipes and drums tomorrow (Saturday) as the annual piping and drumming competition organised by Arbroath and District Musical Festival gets under way.

Pipers and drummers frae a’ the airts will be judged by Arbroathian Gordon Bruce and his friends Finlay Johnston, David Ross and Fiona Wilson who are all highly regarded in the piping and drumming world,

The 80th festival opens at the Webster Memorial Theatre on Tuesday morning when junior classes in piano and vocal solos and duets will be adjudicated by Stewart Fyffe, Broughty Ferry, who recently became an adjudicator with the British & International Federation of Festivals.

The festival continues until Saturday and throughout the week choirs from local and Angus schools will sing in the theatre on Wednesday having been transported to and from school by Stagecoach buses kindly supplied by Sir Brian Soutar of Stagecoach. It is anticipated that at any one time throughout the day up to 300 children could be seated in the Webster auditorium.

Also on Wednesday in the Assembly hall young recorder, woodwind and string players will showcase their talents. The festival committee is pleased to announce that Karen Hannah, a veteran of Scottish traditional music with an outstanding repertoire of Scottish and world fiddle tunes literally at her fingertips, has agreed to travel from her home in Forfar to offer the young fiddle players encouragement and sound advice.

On Thursday and Friday in the Theatre over 100 percussionists will play for Miss Pamela Dow a renowned percussionist who will offer them lots of guidance in her adjudications.

In the Assembly Hall on Thursday there are further piano classes, instrumental duets and wind solos while in the evening the same venue is given over to Scottish songs.

On Friday in the Old and Abbey Church young and not so young brass players will give their performances for adjudicator, Mrs Christina Thomson.

An old friend of the festival and a former Blue Riband winner, now a highly acclaimed guitarist, Allan Neave, will travel from Glasgow to give his comments to young guitarists from throughout Angus. On Friday evening one of the highlights will be the instrumental recital class. Burns songs and gold medal vocal classes precede the recital.

On Saturday morning the theatre is given over to young singers in the light popular solo classes while in the afternoon senior performers take part in oratorio, opera, vocal duet and piano classes. At the final session mixed voice choirs, light opera solos, ladies’ choirs and Gilbert and Sullivan solos will be performed prior to the announcement of the premier awards.

Programmes are now on sale at various outlets in the town and tickets can be purchased in advance from the Webster Memorial Theatre which saves queuing. The box office number is 01241 435800 and it is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.