Music festival kicks off with milestone production

Pupils from English Martyrs School perform during dress reherals for the Preston Schools Music Festival at the Guild Hall
Pupils from English Martyrs School perform during dress reherals for the Preston Schools Music Festival at the Guild Hall
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Hundreds of youngsters are taking to the stage Preston’s Guild Hall this week for a very special birthday party.

Pupils from more than 20 primary schools across area the are wowing audiences as the Preston School Music Festival marks its 70th anniversary.

This year the popular show is also extra special for producer/technical director Brian Berry as it is his 50th production.

Former school teacher and children’s entertainer Brian said that what started out as a choral event for a handful of Preston schools in 1949 has changed dramatically over the years.

Although choirs – and recorder players – still play a big part in the showcase, movement and dance are now a major part of every production.

And, although the number of school taking part fluctuate, the number has grown from the early days.

But, said Brian, although there are not as many schools taking part now as a couple of decades ago, the area they come from has expanded to include places as far apart as Chorley and Longridge as well as Preston.

Pupils have spent weeks preparing for the show, working in their own schools.

They only get together for full rehearsals a couple of days before the show and get to see how their parts fit in with the rest of the production.

This year’s theme is a tribute to the longevity of the festival and he has put together a selection of popular songs and routines to take the audiences on a musical trip down Memory Lane.

Each scene tracks a different era over the last 70 years with the children singing and dancing favourites from the past.

The shows, which start tonight and run until Thursday, are open to the public and the schools rely on ticket sales to cover the cost of the shows.