WINNERS of the speech and drama and singing sections of the Worthing Music and Arts Festival were announced this weekend.
Finals day was well attended with Worthing mayor Bob Smytherman and mayoress Norah Fisher presenting the awards.
The adjudicators included Rosemary Ashe, who has starred in many West End shows, local performer Allan Cardew and well-respected speech adjudicator Stephen Owen.
Festival secretary Jan Spooner Swabey said: “All three thoroughly enjoyed the performances presented to them and offered snippets of valuable advice to our budding stars.
“It is a major plus for the festival movement that professionals such as these are prepared to offer their time and energy to encouraging the next generation of performers.”
After much deliberation, junior festival performer of the year for the speech and drama section was awarded to Andrew Sayegh with runner up Eve Allison Ward.
Kerry-Alice Hartnett was named as young performer of the year and Paige Yallop came second.
The performer of the year title was awarded to Abigail Farmery, with Gemma Sangster the runner-up. Paddy Lee was awarded the junior singer of the year trophy with Ines Mitchell-Rodriguez in second place.
Young singer of the year was Madison Horne, runner up Abigail Fell.
Theatre singer of the year was Lauren Crichton, with runner up Beth Dunkley.
The choirs section of the festival will take place today from 5.30pm at Worthing’s Assembly Hall. Classes will include a Glee or show choir, religious or worship music, a madrigal group, choral ensemble and music for Christmas.
The final part of the festival, the classical guitar section, will take place on Saturday, May 10.
Concerto Night will be adjudicated by Helen Sanderson who studied at the Royal College of Music with Charles Ramirez and graduated as winner of the Madeline Walton Guitar Prize and Anthony Saltmarsh Bursary.
Mrs Spooner Swabey said: “It has been exhausting but it has been a brilliant festival so far.
“There have been some very high-quality performances and a lot of people have raised their games.
“Jenny Thornton, who adjudicated the speech and drama session, was really lovely and vibrant and she got up and did some workshops, especially with the younger children.
“Apart from one, all of the finals winners were new people and the general comments from the adjudicators have been that this is a thriving and talented festival which is very nice to hear.
“It is very encouraging, as is feedback that the choice of the work being presented is more original than the judges have seen in other areas.
“A particular highlight for me was the senior dance groups which performed at the beginning of the festival and the adult singing groups.”
Organisers are already looking to next year’s festival.
Mrs Spooner Swabey said: “We are already looking forward to it, booking venues and adjudicators and putting things in place so that it can run as smoothly as possible.
“The storytelling, which was a new class this year, was a big hit, so that’s something we will be looking to build on in the future.”