YOUNGSTERS from the Whitby area are banding together in a celebration of words and music for this year’s Eskdale Festival of the Arts.
The festival, once known as the Tournament of Song, is now in its 109th year and has a rich tradition of highlighting classical works of music and literature to youngsters and the public, as well as allowing children to perform original pieces.
The first two days of the festival took place on Wednesday and Thursday, with the focus being on the spoken word.
Among the schools represented were Stakesby, West Cliff, Airy Hill, St Hilda’s, Ruswarp, Sleights, Fyling Hall Junior School, Caedmon, Eskdale and Whitby Community College.
Participants read a variety of poetry, from heart-wrenching to funny, some of which they penned themselves. They also read extracts from books, and wrote and performed their own short plays.
Each participant was graded by independent adjudicator Edwina Lloyd, with a special medal given to the winner in each category. However, competition is not the point of the festival.
“We try to play down the competitive side of it,” said David Marshall, chairman of the festival.
“Whether or not the children view the proceedings as a contest, their enthusiasm was infectious.”
The festival is supported by grants from various parties, sponsorship from local businesses and the army of volunteers who dedicate their time to the festival.
The festival also has the support of the local community, as evidenced by the support shown for it in Scarborough Borough Council’s Voice Your Choice awards, which provided funding for community projects.
Mr Marshall added: “I think a lot of people remember taking part.They don’t want to see it disappear. We’re all very grateful to the community.”
The festival continues on Monday to Thursday next week, as the schools showcase their musical talents. Entry costs £1.50 for a single morning or afternoon session, while a season ticket costs £15 and allows access to all sessions and the Boyes Gala Concert on Saturday 12th March.
The various winners of the festival will also perform at a special concert on Sunday 13 March.