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Haverfordwest Singer on song at festival

on songSINGER Rowan Staden-Coates, of Sir Thomas Picton School, Haverfordwest was the overall winner of this year’s Secondary Schools Valero Music Festival.

The annual festival, which is organised by the Pembrokeshire County Council Music Service and sponsored by Valero, took place at Sir Thomas Picton School in Haverfordwest on Saturday (November 16).

Over 300 young musicians from the County’s eight county secondary schools took part in individual and ensemble competitions throughout the day.

Later in the evening an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a special concert showcasing the individual winners and the winners of the instrumental and vocal ensemble competitions.

Every secondary school in the county was represented by their school band or orchestra.

As the overall winner, Rowan Staden-Coates was presented with the Tim Bourne Memorial Cup. Earlier in the evening she had performed “Forsake me Not” by J. S. Bach, accompanied at the piano by her teacher Sarah Benbow.

Tuba player Aled Meredith-Barrett, of Ysgol Dewi Sant, was the winner of the Open Brass competition. He performed “Romanza” by Vaughan-Williams and was accompanied by Seimon Morris.

The Open String competition winner was Naomi Hunt from Greenhill School, who played “Polonaise Briliante” by Weieniawski on the the violin. She was accompanied by Anna Tiller. Hannah Taylor, of Greenhill School, was the winner of the Open Piano class. She is a pupil of Jan Hartzel and performed “Nocturne” by Grieg.

Marimba player Melissa Martin, of Sir Thomas Picton School, won the Open Percussion class. She performed “Prelude No1 for solo Marimba” by Rosauro.

The winner of the Open Woodwind class was flautist Amy Taylor, of Greenhill School, who performed “Hypnosis” by Ian Clarke accompanied at the piano by Stuart Evans.

The Open Vocal Ensemble class was won by Sir Thomas Picton Boy’s Quartet, who sang “Blue Moon” accompanied by James Olyott.

Saxophonist Molly Brick, of Tasker Milward School, was the winner of the Open Jazz competition. Her performance of “Georgia on my Mind” was accompanied by Clive Raymond.

The Open Ensemble competition was won by the Sir Thomas Picton year 12 group who performed an arrangement of part of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No2”.

The invited professional adjudicators – Timothy Angel, voice; Adrian Morton , brass; , Lara James, woodwind; Christopher Lovegrove, piano; Denis Mahoney, ensembles; Robin Stowell, strings; Nick Baron, percussion – were greatly impressed with the high standard and strength of schools’ music on show from across the County.

Also performing at the evening concert were: Sir Thomas Picton School Orchestra (conducted by Melanie Walker); Ysgol Greenhill School Jazz Band (Paul Rapi); Milford Haven School Wind Band (Gareth Sanders Swales); Ysgol Dewi Sant School Orchestra (Tom Earey); Pembroke School Orchestra (Rebecca Whitehurst); Ysgol Bro Gwaun Orchestra (Phillipa Roberts); Ysgol y Preseli Wind Band (Gareth Sanders Swales) and Tasker Milward School Orchestra (Phillipa Roberts).

On behalf of Valero, William James said the company was very pleased to be involved in such a prestigious event featuring so many of the county’s talented young musicians.

County Music Co-ordinator and Festival MC Chris Llewellyn thanked the adjudicators, teachers, parents and students for making the Festival such a success.

“Once again the strength and quality of Pembrokeshire Schools’ music is evident at this event,” he said.