Guild celebrates its 125th birthday with varied programme

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The Manx Music Festival’s 2017 syllabus is available now.

The festival, also known as the Guild, is celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2017, when it will run from April 21 to 29 at the Villa Marina in Douglas and other venues.

Secretary of the festival, Dr Jacqueline Yates, said: ‘The syllabus is widely anticipated by the local music and drama communities and this year it is free of charge.

‘We hope this will encourage even more people to think about entering and enjoying everything the Guild has to offer, accepting the challenge to choose and work on their music, drama or dance over the next few months.’

Every year there are changes to the Guild. The executive, music and drama committees listen to audiences and competitors alike to ensure the right balance.

Dr Yates said: ‘There really is something for everyone. Classes range from traditional folk song and opera through to pop songs and battle of the rock bands, as well as contemporary dance, ballet and choral singing. We also have classic Shakespearean acting alongside poetry and public speaking, plus brass bands and a wide variety of instrumental classes.

‘There are no age limits either. The Guild has competitors as young as six every year and has also enjoyed competitors aged 100! The atmosphere is wonderful - sometimes tense, often exciting - and our professional experienced adjudicators who travel to the Isle of Man each year marvel at the wealth of talent we have here.’

This year the Guild received a legacy from the late Mildred Holgate, a staunch supporter of the festival, and in accordance with her wishes the 2017 children’s solo classes are to be taken from the Manx National Songbook.

The classes will be a showcase of Manx national song as the Guild celebrates its unique history and place in Manx culture, and the winners will sing for the Sheffield Plate on finals night.

The event is sponsored by building company Dandara.

Its managing director, Seamus Nugent, said: ‘We are all looking forward to the 2017 Guild, and with the release of the syllabus the excitement is really building towards the 125th anniversary celebrations.’

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