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The 131st Annual Mrs Sunderland Festival will take place on the 2nd and then 12th to 22nd February 2020.
We always welcome feedback and combine that with our own observations to constantly fine tune our offer year on year to ensure that it reflects current trends and requirement. It is vital the Festival provides valuable opportunities for all who enter and contribute in any way. To this end there is a raft of new Classes on offer and changes to existing Classes to improve them. Something for everyone!
We have over 140 classes for vocals, instrumentalists, piano, speech and drama and choirs. Catering for under 5s reciting their own poem or singing Walt Disney to experienced amateur vocalists singing Opera or pianists playing Rachmaninov we welcome performers from 3 to 83 years. Our junior, youth and adult choir classes attract amazing choirs ranging from four voices to 140 voices. We welcome over 4000 performers to the Festival; the majority are local performers displaying their own talents and those of our fantastic music teachers across the area.
Other highlights:-
• “Festival Prom Favourites”. A Workshop and public performance of well-known and popular pieces. We anticipate a 300+ choir for the performance which will be backed by the Musica Kirklees Orchestra. Workshop Leader Thom Meredith.
• ‘’I Got Rhythm” Children’s Workshop. 1,100 excited young children will be having the time of their lives during that morning. You will sense the energy outside the Town Hall while this is running. There will be an evening concert performed by some of the children which will be open to a public audience. It is expected that the whole event will again be over subscribed.
• ‘Special Needs Day’. This event will again be supported by The Dark Horse Theatre, the format that worked so well in 2019. We anticipate all local Special Needs Schools to be attending. Do come along to see just what these wonderful children can achieve.
• ‘Music for the Brain Tea Dance’. Now in its second year and further developed in conjunction with The Alzheimer’s Society. Guests will have the opportunity to watch, sing and dance to Musica Kirklees Musicians and enjoy tea and cake in the magnificent Huddersfield Town Hall, Concert Hall. 120 people attended in 2019 and we expect this to double for 2020.
• ‘Young Musician of the Year’. Young people from all over the UK are invited to compete for this prestigious award. The standard of performance will be exceedingly high, with the winner receiving not only the trophy, but also a £1,000 prize to spend on their continued musical education and concert performance opportunities.

For further details visit and view ‘GALLERY’ to get a feel of the electric atmosphere of the Festival.

The festival is a charity run entirely by unpaid volunteers who do not seek thanks or recognition, but because they believe it is truly worthwhile.
If you would like to contribute to the Festival in any way, volunteering or indeed financial support do please contact me.
Ray Brown.  Chairman.      Tel 01484 603801 email


Our special 130th Festival has come to a close during which we also celebrated the bicentenary of the birth of Mrs Susan Sunderland. We had the privilege of Wendy Maas and Charlotte Arculus attending our Last Night Concert. Wendy being Mrs Susan Sunderland’s great, great granddaughter and Charlotte being her great, great, great granddaughter.

The Festival drew in excess of 4,000 performers with constant feedback from the adjudicators that the standard of performance was exceedingly high. It is also noteworthy that performers increasingly came from greater distances with The Brythoniaid Male Voice Choir, Peterborough and Nelson choirs making a huge impact to the final Saturday and Last Night Concert.
Other highlights being:-

• “Sing Hallelujah with the Huddersfield Choral Society”. A Workshop and public performance of elements from Handel’s Messiah. A 200+ choir for the performance who were accompanied by the Musica Kirklees Orchestra. Workshop Leader Gregory Batsleer.
• ‘Schools Valentine’s Day Workshop and Concert’, with Musica Kirklees. 1,000 children had an amazing time at the Workshop with 300 returning in the evening to perform in a packed Concert Hall.
• ‘Special Needs Workshop’, with the Dark Horse Theatre. An amazing event where the power of music and dance brings joy to these wonderful children and is clearly visible. All Special Needs Schools in Kirklees attended the event.
• ‘Music for the Brain Tea Dance’. New for 2019 and in conjunction with The Alzheimer’s Society was a huge success. In excess of 60 people attended, enjoyed tea and cake, sang and danced to music provided by Musica Kirklees. The event exceeded all expectations and will now become a regular part of our Festival.
• ‘Kirklees Young Musician’ for 2019 is cellist Will Robertson. Adjudicator Steven Roberts complimented Will on his high standard of performance.
• ‘The Last Night Concert’ included the World Premiere of Will Todd’s ‘When Music Sounds’ Choral Suite performed by The Huddersfield Choral Society with Will Todd performing and conducting from the piano. A real piece of history for our special commemorations.

We move on now to our 131st Festival, planning having already started!

Our aim ‘to promote education and development within the arts for the benefit of the community’ remains as valid now as when it was written 130 years ago. It could be argued that our aims are even more relevant in modern times when opportunities for performance and development are becoming increasingly scarce.

The Festival is a Registered Charity and ran entirely by unpaid volunteers. If you would like further details or are interested in being part of it, do please contact us.