Swaledale Festival gets £3k boost from Co-op shoppers

Meraki Duo.

Swaledale Festival has received a cheque for £3269.91 from the Leyburn branch of the Co-op following votes by customers for three local good causes.

The money will go to the festival’s Young Artists Platform (YAP) and its work with young people.

This money is being used to bring a trio, two duos and a soloist to the festival in four concerts – two in Wensleydale and two in Swaledale.

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A further YAP event sees the Dales-based Janet Seymour’s School of Theatre Dance give a show in St Oswald’s Church, Askrigg for the Festival on May 30.

Early in their careers even the most talented can find it hard to get gigs and an appearance at a prestigious event such as Swaledale Festival can be a great boost to a CV.

The first young artist appearing in the festival this year is cellist Kristiana Ignatjeva with pianist Sten Heinoja, on May 29 in St Andrew’s Church Aysgarth.

Two days later the Heather Ryall Trio, an unusual line-up of clarinet, soprano and piano, is in St Michael and All Angels Church, Spennithorne.

In the second week the focus moves to Swaledale with classical guitarist Alexandra Whittingham in the Congregational Church, Reeth on June 4 and The Meraki Duo of flute and guitar in St. Mary’s Church, Muker on June 8.

In addition, each year some artists from the Festival go into local schools as part of an education project which often introduces children to different musical instruments and styles for the first time.

Funding such as that from Leyburn Co-op shoppers and other charitable sources helps to pay for these education programmes which are always provided free to the schools involved.

Swaledale Festival chairman Sue Miller said: “The festival is extremely grateful to all the shoppers in Leyburn who contributed to such a wonderful donation from the Co-op.

“This will help to fund our Young Artists Platform and means that we can continue to support young artists at a crucial time in their career and bring high quality arts and educational projects to our rural communities in the area.”