THE brightest musical talent from across the North wowed judges at the start of the county’s biggest music competition.
The 58th Caithness Music Festival got off to a fantastic start on Monday, according to its secretary.
Audrey MacKinnon, who is celebrating her 25th year as a member of the committee, said there had been an excellent standard of entries from the schools taking part.
“The festival continues to have a widespread appeal as we have schools from Sutherland and Ross-shire taking part as well as schools in Caithness.
“A positive aspect to this year’s event is that the number of adult entries has gone up from last year.
“The standard shown by the school pupils so far has been excellent and it has been a great way to kick off the competition.”
Making his debut as an adjudicator is Donal McCrisken from Belfast, who works as a conductor of Cappella Caeciliana – one of Northern Ireland’s most exciting chamber choirs.
He said he was thrilled to be part of the festival and was impressed by the amount of musical talent on show.
“There have been a lot of good singers with some lovely renditions of Scottish folk song in English and Gaelic,” he said.
“There has also been very strong brass and wind playing and I was particularly impressed with a saxophone quartet who played a marvellous Gershwin number.
“A lot of people say that they don’t like the competition element to these festivals, but what I say to my own students who I enter into festivals is that you are only entering to win.
“They are very important for character building and give pupils a chance to stand on a platform, having worked hard all year. The pupils can take a lot of things away from the festival, as well as the fun they are having by being together and making music.”
Children’s competitions take place every day this week at the Assembly Rooms, Wick, while the adult competitions will be held at Thurso High tonight and Friday night.
Results – Choral speaking, rural schools: 1, Lybster P6-7; 2, Castletown P3-4. Popular song, P4-7: 1, Pulteneytown P4-7; 2, Hillhead P7; 3, Castletown P5. Popular song, S1-S6: 1, Thurso High School Party Rockers.
Vocal solo, girls P5: 1, Lauren Clarke, Miller Academy; 2eq, Freya McVean, Miller Academy, and Cara Mackenzie, Watten. Vocal solo, boys P5: 1, Andrew Harper, Wick; 2, Euan Macdonald, Miller Academy; 3eq, Aiden Urquhart, Miller Academy, and Leo Stevens, Miller Academy.
Scots song, primary: 1, Beth Douglas, Bower; 2, Elle Harrold, Wick; 3eq, Morag Mackay, Thurso, and Bryony Munro, Papigoe. Banjo, secondary: 1, Michael Stone, Castletown.
Scots fiddle solo, primary, slow air and march: 1, Emily Morrison, Wick; 2, Aiva Harper, Wick; 3, Kirsty Grant, Dunbeath. Scots fiddle solo, secondary, march, strathspey and reel: 1, Brianna Gordon, Thurso; 2, Caitlin Forbes, Latheron; 3, Lyndsay Vines, Thurso.
Accordion solo, primary: 1, Jem Irving, Lairg; 2eq, William Campbell, Halkirk, and Frances Grant, Thurso. Accordion solo, secondary: 1, Stephanie Harper, Wick.
Duets, preliminary: 1, Lucia Sinclair and Lucy Miller, Keiss; 2, Iain Fishenden and Louis Hodgson, Thurso.
Storytelling, S1 to S6, own choice: 1, Laurence Todd, Wick; 2, Kieran Sutherland, Wick. Storytelling, P5 to P7, own choice: 1, John Sutherland, Wick; 2, Beth Douglas, Bower.
Verse-speaking, boys, P7 – “Prince Kano”: 1, Jordan Kennedy, Keiss; 2, Ewan Adamson, Reay; 3eq, William Campbell, Halkirk, and John Sutherland, Wick South. Verse-speaking, girls, P7 – “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”: 1, Ellie James, Watten; 2eq, Sarah Sinclair, Lybster, and Eilish Brinded, Halkirk.
Electric guitar/electric bass guitar solo, secondary, own choice: 1, John Forbes, Latheron.
Violin/viola/cello/bass solo, grade one, own choice: 1, Aiva Harper, Wick; 2, Bryony Munro, Papigoe; 3, Catriona Mhor, Wick. Violin/viola/cello/bass solo, grade three, own choice: 1, Nicola Gray, Thurso High School. Violin/viola/cello/bass solo, grade two, own choice: 1, Duncan Davidson, Thurso; 2, Penny Johnstone, Wick.
Classical guitar solo, primary, own choice: 1, Megan Lloyd, Thurso; 2, Erin Sutherland, Bower.
Violin/viola/cello/bass solo, grade seven and above, own choice: 1, Lyndsay Vines, Thurso. Violin/viola/cello/bass solo, grade four, own choice: 1, Cara Gordon, Thurso; 2, Katie Reiss, Thurso High School. Violin/viola/cello/bass solo, grade six, own choice: 1, Brianna Gordon, Thurso.
Music making, primary: 1, Castletown Primary School; 2, Dornoch Primary School; 3, Keiss Primary School.
Music making, secondary: 1, Robin Aitkenhead, Caitlin Taylor, Caitlin Carter, Wick; 2, Thurso String Quartet Band; 3, Thurso Ukulele Band.
Chamber music: 1, East Highland Saxophone Group; 2, East Highland Flute Group; 3, Thurso High School Wind Trio.
Music making for large groups: 1, Caithness and East Highland Concert Band; 2, East Highland Concert Band; 3eq, Caithness Wind Band and Caithness Junior Wind Band.
Trophies – Music Association Shield: Castletown TTFC. Roseburn Cup: Robyn Aitkenhead, Caitlin Taylor and Caitlin Carter. Roseburn Shield: East Highland Saxophone Group. Leslie Sheppard Cup: Caithness and East Highland Concert Band. Robin Mellor Trophy: Laurie Todd.
Mrs Boyd Shield: John Sutherland. Edgar Cup: Ellie James. Jack Duncan Memorial Shield: Duncan Davidson. Mentiplay Shield: Cara Gordon.
Miss Mary Webster Shield: Lybster Primary. Lewry Shield: Pulteneytown Academy. Thurso Strathspey and Reel Society Cup: Emily Morrison. Music Committee Shield: Brianna Gordon.
Bobby Coghill Memorial Shield: Jem Irving. Wick Accordion and Fiddle Club Cup: Stephanie Harper. Wick Accordion and Fiddle Club Shield: Brianna Gordon and Jem Irving. Agnes Custer Memorial Shield: Beth Douglas. Buchanan Shield: Duncan Davidson.