REVIEW: Arun Young Musicians’ Final/Gala Concert

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It is always a great pleasure to attend the Arun Young Musicians’ Final/Gala Concert and 2016 was certainly no exception!

On Sunday 20th November, at Bognor’s Alexandra Theatre, we were treated once again to superb afternoon’s entertainment by finalists aged from 8 to 17 years, including choirs from Upper Beeding Primary and East Preston Junior Schools. Even though an Adjudicator, Kay Tucker, sat prominently at a table in the centre of the Auditorium, it did not feel like a competition final and was primarily a concert by some fine young instrumentalists and singers full of variety and exquisitely performed. Each performer was introduced to us with customary expertise (not without a little well-placed humour!) by the MC, George Jones and everyone was a brightly shining star even though, for reasons unexplained, most of the lighting seemed to be directed at the auditorium rather than the stage!

We enjoyed a wide selection of music from Corelli, Purcell, Bach and Haydn through to two songs from the award-winning musical, Matilda, penned by Tim Minchin but based upon the children’s book by Roald Dahl. One should also mention a delightful duet for two pianos written by another Tim, none other than the competition’s 2014 Champion, Timothy Rumsey from Barnham who both performed this work with Henry Wells and delighted us with a solo piano recital during the Adjudicator’s deliberations. Tim is proof-positive of the competition’s raison d’être and continues to ply his talents and win awards on a higher plane. Another past winner, Rudi Eastwood (1997), returned to the fray, this time in the role of official accompanist. What is equally impressive is that several of Sunday’s performers were younger siblings of past award-winners, including this year’s overall winner, guitarist, Zoe Barnett whose elder sister, Tamzin was the 2005 Champion. Since this fine competition started in 1981, are there any latter day entrants whose parents were formerly competitors?

Adjudicator, Kay Tucker, while sharing our enjoyment and delight of this splendid concert, also had the unenviable task of deciding to whom the various bursaries and trophies should be awarded. Zoe’s outstanding guitar playing justly earned her the title “Arun Young Musician 2016” with Kenji Luc a close runner-up with his pianistic skills.

Congratulations to all who took part in this year’s Festival and special thanks to the Organising Committee and Littlehampton Rotary Club for their dedicated support over its 35 year history. A full list of award-winners and details of the 2017 Competition should shortly appear on the AYM website at http://www.arunyoungmusicians.co.uk/

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