The club is fortunate to have a committee very actively committed to youth work in the local community. Liaison with the Chelmsford High School Interact Club assists activities in raising funds for charities and bring the interactive skills of the younger generation to prominence. Youth Speaks competitions, arranged with help from the committee, engage schools in the area, have been very successful and have had national acclaim. We have strong links with the Chelmsford Competitive Festival of Music Speech and Dram and the Young Musician competition in which the club has a major interest, both locally and in 1240 District, illustrates the wealth of talent and dedication that the younger generation can achieve.
Young Musician 2016-17
Each year members of our Club go to the Chelmsford Competitive Music Festival in November to attend specified classes and invite selected young musicians who do well to take part in Young Musician. The good links we have had with the Festival for many years help to ensure that those competing in Young Musician in Chelmsford are of a high standard. At the November 2016 Festival we invited sixteen potential competitors and nine accepted.The Chelmsford heat was held at St Cedd’s School on 13 January 2017. Our Club provided the MC, the ticket sellers and the car park attendant. The Rotary Club of Chelmsford Rivermead handled the refreshments and Brenda Stroud, the President of the Rotary Club of Chelmsford Mildmay acted as host for our principal guest, the Mayor of Chelmsford. All three Clubs plus the Rotary Club of Chelmsford Phoenix helped fund the evening. Two professional musicians, Andrew Fardell and Bridget Metcalfe, acted as adjudicators.
Our nine competitors were six instrumentalists and three vocalists. All three male competitors were pianists. The three female instrumentalists were a flautist, a trumpeter and a viola player. Each competitor was asked to play or sing for a maximum of ten minutes and to include at least two contrasting pieces. The vocalists went first, singing songs in English, French, German and Italian from the 18th Century up to the late 20th century. The instrumentalists played a similarly wide range of music.
The nine performances took just over 1½ hours. When all competitors had sung or played we adjourned for refreshments while our two adjudicators considered their verdicts. They reached their conclusion before we had finished drinking our teas and coffees. The winning vocalist was Abbie Ward, who was one of our winners last year, and Erin Cacace, the viola player. The Mayor presented the certificates and trophies. It was a very good evening; everyone commented on the high standards the young musicians had achieved.There were also nine competitors for the District Finals held in the Cathedral on 11 February, five instrumentalists and four vocalists. Our Club (in the person of Deborah Sayles) sold tickets on the door.
We were treated to some excellent performances, making a very enjoyable evening. All four vocalists were female. Two accompanied themselves, one on the piano and one on a guitar, but it might have been better if they had arranged to be accompanied by someone else, leaving them free to concentrate on their singing.
The three adjudicators included Jessica Edom-Carey, a previous winning vocalist in the Chelmsford heat and the District Final. They took around 45 minutes to reach their decisions. In their feedback they gave overall comments and comments on each performance. From my conversations with other people I think most of us had worked out who the winners would be. Abbie Ward was the winning vocalist and the winning instrumentalist was Christopher Wilkin, a cellist sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bishops Stortford. Erin Cacae was Highly Commended. Lord Petre, who is due to retire as Lord Lieutenant later this year, presented the trophies.
Abbie and Christopher also won the Regional Final and went on to represent our Region at the National Final held in Cardiff.