if music BE the food of fife, play on!

Wormit PS on stage at the Fife Festival of Music
Wormit PS on stage at the Fife Festival of Music

FIFE Festival of Music (FFoM) is looking to hit the right note when it comes back with a bang - and a number of changes - for its 33rd year.

Following last year’s event, the organising committee took a long hard look at the festival, made crucial decisions and undertook a lot of hard work to ensure the annual event could continue in 2013.

Dunfermline HS singing in the Fife Festival of Music

Dunfermline HS singing in the Fife Festival of Music

And those behind the scenes are delighted to be preparing once again for the event, which has become a staple in the Fife events calendar and features hundreds of music makers, of all ages, every year.

As festival time approaches Graeme Wilson, chairman, explained some of the changes and the reasons behind them.

He said: “It became obvious that in order to survive and to continue to be useful as an event in our community, FFoM required something of an overhaul.

“What we have done this year is split things up so there will be a presence for the festival across the year rather than just the short time in January and February as before.

“The ‘A’ period starts on January 29 and runs into February, then we’ll have the ‘B’ period in May and the ‘C’ period in November.

“Entries have been dropping over the years and there are a lot of reasons for that, but to ensure our survival if you like, we have had a really good look at things.

“We have done some re-vamping of the ‘A’ period, changed some of the classes, and taken some things out and put them in the ‘B’ period.”

The festival events planned for May are a series of instrumental workshops for strings, wind, brass and percussion, giving the players of grades two to five standard an opportunity to participate in the festival without competition and to be part of group music making while learning and contributing individually.

And in November, development days are planned, however the specific details have not yet been decided.

Topics under consideration include piano, traditional and rock music.

Graeme has been involved in the festival in one way or another since the first one in 1981 and has been on the committee for 25 years, 20 of them as chairman.

The current changes are not the first for FFoM as Graeme recalls: “It’s changed a lot since the early days.

“One thing we do and have done for many years is recognise if there’s a need for change in classes or other elements of the festival.”

As well as spreading the festival across the year, changes have also been made to the classes for participants.

He continued: “One change we’ve made this year is to reduce the number of community music making classes we have in the festival.

“What we found was in some of these classes we’d perhaps have just one choir or two orchestras taking part, so we decided to change things this year to try and open out the possibilities.

“For example in our choirs and choral groups classe we have 10 entries this year, covering a wide range of ages. It’s better for those taking part as they can hear the other nine choirs perform, it makes things more exciting and it offers greater variety to the audience.

“Another change is we’ve done away with the concerto class and replaced it with Young Musician 2013, which is the winners of the open classes competing against each other.”

And with the changes, organisers are looking forward to a special event in 2013.

Graeme said: “We are absolutely delighted with the number of entries which are coming forward. There’s a great buzz around the committee at the moment.

“A year ago we were wondering where the festival would be going in future, and now we’re getting ready for the 33rd year.”