OVER 200 young musicians took part in this year's Pembrokeshire Secondary Schools Valero Music Festival.

The annual festival, which is organised by the Pembrokeshire County Council Music Service and sponsored by Valero, took place at Ysgol Caer Elen on Saturday November 16.

Over 200 young musicians from each of the county’s eight county secondary schools, Pembrokeshire College and further afield took part in individual and ensemble competitions throughout the day.

The overall winner was percussionist Sara Llewellyn from Haverfordwest High V.C. School who earlier won An enthusiastic audience enjoyed a Spotlight concert showcasing the individual winners and the winners of the instrumental and vocal ensemble competitions. During the concert, every performer who was placed first, second or third throughout the day received a badge in recognition of their achievement.

Said music service co-ordinators, Philippa Roberts and Sarah Benbow: “This concert is a celebration of the continued hard work and dedication of the young musicians of Pembrokeshire.

“Thanks also go to The Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians for providing refreshments and who continue to support the music service at all events throughout the year.”

This year, the music service was supported by Music Young Ambassadors. These are keen young musicians from the music service who show initiative and were helpful during the day.

Denis Mahoney, ensemble adjudicator, expressed his admiration for the day.

He commented: “This level of achievement is indeed bucking the national trend and can only be attributed to the wonderful teaching taking place, and the fantastic organisation and management of the music service and staff. Please, do all in your power to sustain all you do for the young people in your county. It is indeed incredible.

“Thank you, and Valero, for a wonderful and exciting day. The learners will never forget the day, and their experience of standing up, performing, and in many cases winning, will live with them for the rest of their lives.”

Head adjudicator Timothy Angel presented Sara Llewellyn with the overall winner's cup.

Other open competition winners were:

Woodwind, Ella Townsend, Haverfordwest High; Strings, Rhys Lewis, Haverfordwest High; Piano, Lefi Dafydd, Ysgol Preseli; Brass, Rhys Evans, Milford Haven School; Jazz, Sara Llewellyn, Haverfordwest High; Vocal, Phebe Salmon, Ysgol Bro Gwaun; Percussion, Carys Underwood, Ysgol Preseli; Vocal ensemble, Ysgol Harri Tudur (Melissa Phillips, Madelyn Wheeler, Catrin Connellan, Megan Thomas, Felicity Lewis and Ruby Tingle); Instrumental ensemble, Haverfordwest High cello trio (Rhys Lewis, Rhianna Wade and Mia Burnett).

The invited professional adjudicators - Timothy Angel, vocal; Denis Mahoney, ensemble; Peter Fielding, woodwind; Robin Hackett, brass; Karin Jenkins, strings; Bethan Harkin, piano and harp; Melanie Walker, instrumental, Nick Baron, percussion and jazz – were greatly impressed with the high standard and strength of schools’ music on show from across the county.

County music service manager Ben Field thanked the adjudicators, teachers, parents and students for making the Festival such a success.

“Pembrokeshire Music Service would like to give heartfelt thanks to Valero for their continued and longtime sponsorship and support of this event,” he said.

Stephen Thornton, public affairs manager at Valero Pembroke Refinery, said: “We are incredibly proud to support Pembrokeshire’s young musicians for another year.

“More than 200 young people took part in the competition, demonstrating the wealth of creativity, dedication and passion across the county.

“It was wonderful to see competitors take on such an exciting variety of musical genres and they did themselves, their schools and their teachers proud.”

The results of the competitions held during the day were as follows:

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