Ryton Festival. Whatever will happen to?

Actor James Bolam was born in Sunderland

There’s a line in the 1976 film version of the popular TV series Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads, where Terry makes reference to Omar Sharif.  He says; “If Omar Sharif was born in Gateshead, I very much doubt that he would be Omar Sharif.”  The inference being of course, that to be born in Gateshead is disadvantageous generally, and if you wish to pursue a career within the performing arts, then you haven’t a cat in hells chance. The line may have had a certain sarcastic, comedic, credence forty years ago, but not now. At roughly the same time that the actor playing Terry, James Bolam, uttered those words, there was a child in Gateshead whose parents, a Mr. and Mrs Wilson, had named John.  He turned out to be – well John Wilson, and being from Low Fell doesn’t appear to have hampered him one bit. We also have The Animals, The Pet Shop Boys, Jill Halfpenny, Robson Green, Sting, Ant and Dec, Jimmy Nail, Denise Welch, Tim Healy, I could go on. There are now a wealth of avenues for children living here to receive training in the performing arts, and above all, to be taken seriously. Whether they are talented or not, no one, including themselves, will ever know if they aren’t given the platform to try. The Live Theatre and the Sage run courses, there are schools such as the Whitley Bay Saturday Stage School, and all of them are supported by our very own festival. The Ryton Festival is a big fish in an ocean teeming with opportunity. It’s a cliché, but true nonetheless, that you miss the things that are under your nose.

Entertainment is an integral part of our happiness and well-being; watching performers, reading stories, hearing music, going to see plays, laughing at clowns. Those of us who don’t have the talent to perform, still gain pleasure from pretending that we do.  We’ve all played the air guitar, or in my case wielded the air baton, in an imaginary world of joyful escapism.

Muscial adjudicator Eileen Field

For the twelfth session of the festival on Friday I sat very near to the musical adjudicator, Eileen Field, and I kept looking over at the sheet music on her desk. The tadpoles that squiggle across the page are a mystery to me, but understood perfectly by the young musicians of Corbridge Middle School  and   Hetton Lyons Primary  who were there on Friday. These youngsters included Hugh Holmes and Lloyd Spencer, both from Corbridge Middle, and competing in the under twelve Brass Instrument solos. I was jealous of them, because I don’t understand the tadpoles and they do. Even if I did, it’s doubtful that I would ever be able to play any brass instrument to a fraction of the standard Hugh and Lloyd have achieved, and they are still only eleven. What’s next for them I wonder?

Choirs from the two schools performed work that included, The Little Spanish Town, by Peter Jenkyns, and also own choice songs, giving us Blue Moon, by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, and “Sing”, by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

The festival culminated with the Sixteenth Session held at the Charles Thorp Academy on Saturday night. It was a privilege to have some of the winners perform again for us.  Tia Radix Calliste from Lobley Hill sang The Impossible Dream.  She also sang one of my favourite numbers, My Ship.  I enjoyed her interpretation of it, every bit as much as I do for all three of the versions I have on CD at home;  Julie Andrews, Judy Garland, and Sarah Vaughan.

Monique Goule

Monique Goule from Meadomsley reprised her winning performance for a piece I heard her sing a couple of weeks ago, “A Blackbird Singing”.

Ramit Saksena

We listened to the winner of the public speaking category, Ramit Saksena of Gosforth.  His older sister is a previous winner and  she’s currently studying medicine. Ramit didn’t tell me what he intends to do with his life, but I reckon he could do jolly well in politics.

Max Earnshaw & Lily Taylor, of the Whitley Bay Saturday Stage School, both impressed with their duologue, but unfortunately they left before I got the chance to speak to them and to find out more, as did several other people [leave] which is the reason why they aren’t all mentioned.

Michael Biggins

 Sadly I then had to leave as well, entirely because of illness, and not because I wanted to. Not before I’d heard pianist Michael Biggins close the first half with his beautiful and accomplished playing. Michael is a former pupil at Charles Thorp, and he tells me that the last musical event he attended as an audience member was to see the Royal Northern Sinfonia. It’s entirely possible that he might one day be joining them.

I have copied the full lists of results below,  from the Ryton Festival Website.  You can see them here, or visit Ryton Festival

Also make note of the Festival Concert, at the Charles Thorp Academy, 7pm on Saturday, 18th April. For tickets email;  tickets@rytonfestival.me.uk

Alison Williams

Again I will mention the unpaid hard work carried out by the festival’s organisers, including Alison Williams, who received an award for forty years of service. A marvellous achievement.  2016 will be the festival’s 73rd year and I’m going to volunteer my services.  Don’t worry, it’ll be making the tea.  But then again…..


2015  Results

m9994Organ Classes 2015
Class 02.  1st. Peter Chatfield, Newcastle  2nd.  Tom Crowther, Slaley
Class 03.  1st. Adriel Yap, Durham.    2nd.  Vincent Syson, Wrekenton
Class 05.  1st. Andrew Fiddes, Greencroft.  2nd.  Adriel Yap, Durham


Results 2015
Thursday 26th February
Class 35 1st Monique Goule, Medomsley 2nd  Tia Radix Calliste, Lobley Hill
Class 14 1st Emma Howarth & Bridget Ord, Ovingham
2nd Monique Goule, Medomsley  & Judith Nelson, Burnopfield
Class CG1 1st Tia Radix Calliste, Lobley Hill 2nd Tinna Masters, Bedlington /span>
Class 35MT 1st Tia Radix Calliste, Lobley Hill 2nd Niamh Carr, Newcastle
Friday 27th February
Class W2 1st Emma Howarth, Ovingham  2nd Aerin Harrison, Corbridge
Class 45 1st Kate Atkinson, Rowlands Gill
Class D1 1st Catherine & Sarah Walker, Felton
Class 40   1st Philip Mills, Newcastle & Peter Galloway, Durham
2nd Catherine & Sarah Walker, Felton
Class W1 1st Catherine Walker, Felton
Class 44 1st Michael Biggins, Mickley 2nd  Kate Atkinson, Rowlands Gillpianoman



Saturday 28th Febuary
Morning Session
Class 47  1st Edie von Weiler, Hexham 2nd Rory Hobson, Rowlands Gill
Class W3 1st  Alexandra Morrell, Newcastle
Class 43 1st  Edie von Weiler & Clementine Germain, Hexham
2nd Yuen Kim & Edgar Huan Heng Ho, Ashington
Class 48 1st Hayleigh Shek, Ashington  2nd Lottie Glover – Stewart, Guidepost
Class S3 1st Joshua Connor, Darlington 2nd Helena Grundy, Gosforth

Afternoon Session
Class S2 1st Seth Collin, Newcastle
2nd Esme Collin, Newcastle &  Joshua Connor, Darlington
Class 46 1st Erin Richardson Hogg, Ashington 2nd  Edgar Huan Heng Ho, Ashington
Class S1 1st Esme Collin, Newcastle
Class 41 1st Erin Richardson Hogg & Celine Acar, Ashington

Class 37 1st Pamelina Oubinova, Newcastle 2nd Frances Knowles, Corbridge
Class 36 1st Tia Radix Calliste, Lobley Hill 2nd Pamelina Oubinova, Newcastle

Evening Session
Class 19 1st Margaret Crawford, Chester-le-Street
=2nd Pat Nelson, Workington & Paula Carruthers, Workington
Class 20 1st Pat Nelson, Workington 2nd Pamelina Oubinova, Newcastle
Class 28 1st Pat Nelson, Workington 2nd Isabel Moloney, Newcastle
Class 25 1st Pat Nelson, Workington 2nd Anna Zisimatou,Yarm
Class 5 1st  Tyneside A Cappella, North Tyneside
Results 2015
Thursday 12th March 6.30pm
Class 16 1st Sophie Rudge, Durham 2nd Lewis Whyte, Durham
Class 18 1st Michael Gardner, Holystone 2nd Sam Morrison, Whitley Bay
Class 23 1st Michael Gardner, Holystone
2nd= Sam Morrison, Whitley Bay & Lewis Whyte, Durham
Friday 13th March 1.45pm
Class 8
The Dryden Bell Trophy
1st Corbridge Middle School Junior Choir, cond Bethany Fisher
2nd Hetton Lyons Primary, Hetton-le-hole, cond Glenis Smith
The Marion Taylor Trophy
1st Corbridge Middle School Junior Choir, cond Bethany Fisher
2nd Hetton Lyons Primary, Hetton-le-hole, cond Glenis Smith
Class 7
The Tyne & Wear County Council Trophy
1st Corbridge Middle School Senior Choir, cond Bethany Fisher
The Ryton & District Round Table Cup
1st Corbridge Middle School Senior Choir, cond Bethany Fisher
Class 10 1st Hetton Lyons Primary, Hetton-le-hole, cond Glenis Smith
Class B3 1st Lloyd Spencer, Corbridge 2nd Hugh Holmes, Corbridge
Class B2 1st Olivia Nattrass, Corbridge 2nd Samuel Bratton, Corbridge
Class D3 1st Lloyd Spencer & Hugh Holmes, Corbridge
Class E3 1st Corbridge Middle School Brass Ensembblenm98
Class 17 1st Sophie Rudge, Durham
2nd= Anna Zisimatou, Yarm & Pamelina Oubinova, Newcastle
Class 29 1st Rachel Rew, Newcastle       2nd Kath Ireland, Peterlee
Saturday 14th March,
Class 27 1st Isabel Moloney, Newcastle 2nd Anna Zisimatou, Yarm
Class 18 1st Jonathan & Rachel Rew, Newcastle
2nd Paula Carruthers & Glenis Holliday, Workington
Class 22 1st Sophie Rudge, Durham   2nd Kath Ireland, Peterlee
Class 26 1st Kath Ireland, Peterlee
=2nd Sophie Rudge, Durham + Glenis Holliday, Workington + Pat Nelson, Workington
Class 12 1st Paula Carruthers, Jean Dakers & Glenis Holliday, Workington

Championship Oratorio / Opera ClassMusicWalk
Winner –  Michael Gardner, Holystone
Championship Solo Song Class
Winner –  Pat Nelson, Workington

Singer of the Year –  Sophie Rudge, Durham


Drama Weekend Results 2015

Friday 6th March
Class  76        1st Saturday Stage School, Whitley Bay [Scrooge]
2nd Saturday Stage School, Whitley Bay [Lord of the Flies]
Class  72        1st Max Earnshaw & Lily Taylor, Whitley Bay
2nd Elspeth Cunningham, Gosforth & Caroline Dawson, Rowlands Gill
 Class  68        1st Hannah McEwan, Durham
2nd Romy Harkins, Whitley Bay
Class  65        1st Elspeth Cunningham, Gosforth
Class  74        1st Cameron Lackey, Stocksfield
2nd Matthew Callum, Durham
Class  75        1st Ramit Saksena, Gosforth
2nd Gulzar Dhanoya, Newcastle
Saturday 7th March
Class  CS2    1st Newcastle High School for Girls
Class  53        1st Abigail Mableson, North Shields
2nd Isabelle Evans, Dinnington
Class  51        1st Jude Robinson, Durham
Class  61        1st Nicholas Bewlay, Whitley Bay
Class  67        1st Isabella Lingham, Walbottle
2nd Aimee Bell, Benton
Class 55         1st Jessica Ward, Whalton
2nd Abigail Mableson, North Shields
Class  56        1st Finlay Ward, Whalton
2nd Meg Stockwell, Jesmond
Class  57        1st George Inman, Kimblesworth
Class  60        1st George Inman, Kimblesworth
2nd Joan Elton, Rowlands Gill
Class  66        1st George Inman, Kimblesworth
2nd Jennifer Craig, Low Fell
Class  SR3    1st Jennifer Craig, Low Fell
2nd George Inman, Kimblesworth
Class  78        1st George Inman, Kimblesworth
2nd Jennifer Craig, Low Fell
Class  69        1st George Inman, Kimblesworth
2nd Alexander Russell, Ryton
Class  73        1st Patricia Turnbull & Alexander Russell, Ryton
Class  77        1st Throckley Drama Group
2nd Wylam ADS
Best Set         –   Throckley Drama Group
Best Actor      – Pat Buckle, Wylam ADS

Special Awards
Ralph Wright Trophy [Open Song Classes]
Winner – Pat Nelson, Workington
John Taylor Memorial Trophy [Oratorio & Opera Aria]

Winner – Michael Gardner, Holystone
Singer of the Year
Winner- Sophie Rudge, Durham
Sutcliffe Shield [most promising pianist classes 44a, 44b, 45 & 46]
Winner – Michael Biggins, Mickley
The Photocall Trophy [most promising pianist classes 47, 48 & 49]
Winner – Edie von Weiler, Hexham
James K Nicholson Memorial Trophy for Drama
Most promising performer classes 50-56, 58, 59, 67 & 68
Winner – Abigail Mableson, North Shields
James K Nicholson Memorial Trophy for Music
Most promising singer classes 35-39
Winner – Tia Raddix Calliste, Lobley Hill
The Harry Guildford Trophy [solo instrumental age 18 and under]
Winner – Catherine Walker, Felton
The W. A. Mears Memorial Trophy
Winner – Corbridge Middle School Junior Choir
Cond Bethany Fisher