We are in the final stages of preparation for our annual competitive festival, Perform in Perth, as are all our performers, whether they be singers or instrumentalists, dancers or aspiring actors. We are in some new venues this year, in addition to some more familiar.
We hit the ground running on Monday evening, 7 March, with two simultaneous venues, both in Princes Street, St John the Baptist Episcopal Church and Elim Pentecostal Church, the former hosting our Gaelic speech and singing competitions and the latter the start of 4 sessions of percussion solos which continue throughout Tuesday 8 March. We hope for a good turnout of Gaelic supporters on Monday night, starting at 6 pm and, for anyone who thinks they might be bored by so much percussion, they should come along and be amazed at the wide range of music covered and the standard of musicianship.Wednesday and Thursday, 9 and 10 March, see us back in St John the Baptist Episcopal Church, with 2 full days (morning, afternoon & evening) of speech competitions, ranging from 5-year-olds reciting poetry to very much more mature individuals presenting dramatic solos.
Friday 11 March takes us out into the Perthshire of our Association title, to Bankfoot Church Centre, starting from 1.30 pm, with pipe band solos and Scottish Country Dance teams in different parts of the building. The first week of the festival is brought to an end with a morning of Baton Twirling competitions in North Inch Community Campus at the end of Gowans Terrace on Saturday 12 March. Last year, in our virtual festival, the baton twirlers were the highlight for many who watched the videos sent in by the youngsters for our webcasts, so please do come along to be amazed at the standard of their performances.
Our second week starts at 2.00 pm on Monday 14 March in St Leonard’s-in-the-Fields Church with young violin and viola solos, moving to Perth Concert Hall in the evening for a programme of larger bands and orchestras, including Perth Youth Orchestra, all of whom will be very excited to be able to be back, two years after they were scheduled to be in the Concert Hall and then had to be cancelled.The remainder of the second week continues in St Leonard’s, either in their Hall for younger performers or in the Church itself, and sometimes both at the same time! Tuesday 15 March (the famous Ides) continues with a range of string solos, including an amazing number of Initial Double Bass solos, an indicator of the success of the ‘Change the Tune’ campaign, offering all pupils the opportunity to learn a musical instrument with professional tuition.
Wednesday 16 March features all the brass instrument solos and Thursday 17 March sees the start of the singing competitions, ranging from some very small children in choirs in the morning to adult solos in the evening. Friday 18 March is our busiest day, with woodwind solos morning, afternoon and evening, contrasting with piano, guitar, harp solos, and some more vocal solos.Saturday 19 March is our final day, with vocal solos both morning and afternoon and the festival culminates in four ‘play-off’ competitions in the evening, two vocal and two instrumental.
Festival Secretary, Mrs Eileen Waterston said, “Our adjudicators this year come from all over Scotland plus one from Northern Ireland, a total of 13 in all, and a total of 5 piano accompanists.In recent years, we have been very fortunate to have been working with only 2 accompanists, Mo Rutherford, principally for her expertise in Scottish Country Dance music, and Mr Robert Melling, the most amazing accompanist, whether playing for the most advanced musician or the very young nervous first-timer, giving them the confidence to give of their best.”
“We were shocked to hear that Robert had died in hospital on 4 December 2021, a very sudden and unexpected death, the result of sepsis. All who knew him are still coming to terms with this and we know that many of our young performers are saddened to know that they will not see him at the festival this year. ”
“I hope you will manage to give us some appropriate coverage this year, after 2 years without a live festival, 3 years for those musicians for whom the festival in 2020 closed before they could perform. Perhaps, rather than one long article, it could be drip-fed over the fortnight.”
Following on from last year’s innovative virtual festival, when we streamed 32 compiled festival sessions, to great acclaim and thousands of people across the world viewing the streams, we have are going to stream Festival Highlights to reflect what has gone on earlier. These will be available to view on our website https://www.perthshire-music-festival.org.uk/