Reminiscences by cellist, Moray Welsh

Taking part in the Annual Competition Festival was a hugely formative part of my early years playing the cello. Months were spent planning, working out if the pieces would be ready in time, and generally hoping to get to another level since the last year’s competition. 


There were, of course, rivalries, both between participants and teachers, (which I once described jokingly as an ‘annual sharpening of knives!’ ) but on the whole the stimulus was a positive one which I think gave me a huge incentive to work towards a goal. Of course I didn’t always succeed, which was almost more character-building than winning, a life lesson as much as a spur to greater effort. If at first you don’t succeed , try try.............!


There was always a frantic rush to get from one class to another, which must have caused the parents enormous stress, not to mention frayed nerves for both parties. I vividly remember a day on which my father was due to pick me up from school to take me down to the Music Hall for an afternoon class. He didn’t appear at the appointed time, and eventually somebody turned up to tell me that he had collided with a paint lorry. The scene was apocalyptic - the car completely upside down in a sea of multi coloured paint! Remarkably my dad and the cello, which had been in the car in a soft case, were more or less unscathed. A stranger gave me a lift to the hall, and, in spite of having to tearfully explain to my mother what had happened (no mobile phones in those days! ) I managed to go on and win my class - I think I was so determined that at least something positive should conclude the day!


It is remarkable that the Festival has had such a long and successful life, which is a tribute to all the volunteers who so tirelessly work behind the scenes, and I owe it and them my thanks for the helping hand it gave me and hundreds of others in forging a love of performing.

Moray Welsh

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