JFR Celebrates Eisteddfod success 2023!
Junior Fascinating Rhythm (Junior FR) is celebrating another successful year at the recent Thornbury Eisteddfod, part of the Thornbury Arts Festival 2023. Both the junior and senior groups did brilliantly, and both gained a Distinction with 89 marks and came second in their class. Twelve of the girls also competed with their solos and duets; four were invited back to participate in a concert as a finale to the Eisteddfod.
Junior FR’s senior girls (aged 11-16) competed in the ‘Choirs 18 and Under’ category. They received a Distinction for their beautiful performance of ‘Something Stupid’ made famous by Frank & Nancy Sinatra and, more recently, Nicole Kidman and Robbie Williams.
“The harmony lines were clear and well blended, bringing out the melody as it moved between the voice parts”.The adjudicator, Anna Marshall, commented,
For their second song, they sang the beautiful ‘Amazing Grace’ to the music of Pachelbel’s Canon.
“The harmony singing was accurate and well balanced with effective dynamics in the last section – well done!”
Junior FR’s junior girls (aged 7-10 years) competed in the ‘Choirs 11 and Under’ category. They were Commended for their performance of ‘Doll on a Music Box/Truly Scrumptious’ by the Sherman brothers. “You fitted the two parts together successfully in this stylish and focused performance”.
They followed this with ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’, by David Tomlinson and Dick Van Dyke.
“Well done to every singer for concentrating so much and watching and listening intently”.
“I’m beyond proud of the juniors and seniors for their performances. They have worked really hard and attained 89 marks, coming 2nd in each of their classes”.Junior FR’s Musical Director, Wendy, said,
Solo and Duet Performances
Twelve of our Junior FR girls also performed in solo and duet categories at the music festival, and they all did exceptionally well.
Natalie debuted with a performance in the under 11s Songs from the Shows category with ‘Consider Yourself’ from Oliver and won her class with her mark, classifying her as Outstanding! Her twin sister Beth, entertained the audience with the well-known Sea Shanty, ‘The Wellerman’, in the Traditional under 11—also Beth’s first time competing in the Eisteddfod.
Amelie and Evie came joint 1st in the 12 – 14 Show Songs with their solos, ‘Almost There’ from The Princess and the Frog & ‘On My Own’ from Les Miserables.
Seasoned Eisteddfod performer Lily Howse was commended for her performance of ‘When Will My Life Begin’ from the film Tangled.
Evie also performed in the Traditional 12-14 category and performed ‘The Brisk and Bonny Lass’, as well as entertaining everyone with ‘To make you feel my love’ in the newly introduced Pop Song category.
Caitlin sang in the 12- 14 Classical section with Le Violette from Scarlatti’s opera and performed her musical theatre number ‘Empty Chairs and Empty Tables’ from Les Miserables, and she won a cup.
Amelie and Lily dueted in the 12 -14s with the Abba classic Dancing Queen, winning their class with an outstanding classification. Everyone enjoyed their really great choreography.
In the same category, Caitlin and Grace sang the much-loved ‘When I Grow Up’ from the musical Matilda. This was Grace’s first duet at the competition.
In the Under 18 Vocal duet category, Anna and Izzy sang ‘Shallow’ from A Star is Born and gained a Distinction.
Jasmine Wright, Olivia Heal, and Carys Herdman entered the non-competitive category with their a cappella arrangement of ‘Hold Back the River’. Anne Marshall commented that they had a lovely blend and should continue with their close harmony singing.
Eisteddfod Finale Concert
On Friday 24th March at 7 pm in the United Reformed Church, Thornbury. Lily, Amelie, Evie and Natalie performed their solo and duet pieces in the finale concert. Evie was presented with another trophy for the most promising vocalist, and Junior FR as a whole was given a special award by Kate Phillipson-Masters choir, Cadence, in recognition of the work the JFR team does to train and bring on the next generation of singers – “For generally being Just Great!!!”
“It’s been a brilliant Eisteddfod season for JFR again. Lots of new members stepped up to the plate and found their inner confidence to compete. Both choirs did exceptionally well, gaining really high marks and wowing the audience. Winning lots of cups and finishing with Junior FR being given a special award for their contribution to the Eisteddfod has made me really proud,”Director Wendy Howse.
Iron Acton May Day
In May, Junior FR had a fabulous day entertaining audiences at the Iron Acton May Day celebrations with their Eisteddfod pieces. For the first time, 4 of the girls came together to perform as a quartet with their a cappella rendition of ELO’s Mr Blue Sky. The choir closed their set with another new achievement – a performance of ‘This Is Me’ from the Greatest Showman in 4-part harmony. Singing in 4 parts is no mean feat and the girls rose to the challenge without hesitation.
“Once again we were well received at May Day. It was a joy to direct such a talented bunch of girls. And then sit back and watch the soloists and duets take the stage with so much confidence.”Junior FR’s Music Director, Wendy Howse
Keeping it in the family
One of Junior FR’s newest and youngest members, Elsie, has a long-standing connection to Fascinating Rhythm because her grandma Di sings Bass with the chorus and has done for many years, and her daughter, Mads (Elsie’s Auntie) used to sing in the Baritone section.
“Elsie has been wanting to be part of Junior Fascinating Rhythm since she first saw them perform with us – probably age 2 or 3! When I told Wendy a year ago, she gave her a JFR hoodie, which has hung in the wardrobe for almost a year – waiting! She was so proud when she finally got to wear it last week. I was amazed at how quickly she fell into the rehearsal process and how quickly she learned her words ( not like me!).
For myself, I have loved seeing and hearing the young talent at its rawest, and I really enjoy helping in the teaching sessions and breakouts. It’s added a whole new dimension to the FR experience.”Di said,
“It’s really good being part of Junior FR because I like singing with everyone else, and it makes me really happy because I have made friends there!
“I was a bit nervous about competing in the Eisteddfod, but it was awesome, and the other choirs were really good!”Elsie said,
Joining Junior FR
Junior FR is currently recruiting new members, so if you, or someone you know, is interested in taking up singing or joining, please contact us via our website. Junior FR is a choir for girls aged 7 to 16 years old. There is no audition process for new members, and no previous singing or musical experience is needed. Members meet weekly during term time at Iron Acton Village Hall (Friday afternoons, 4.00-5.30 pm), perform at events throughout the year and help to raise money for various charities.