SOUTH Cumbria Musical Festival and the Mary Wakefield Westmorland Music Festival go head to head next week in a fantastic feast of music making.

The two festival giants stage their respective week-long gatherings with scores of competitive classes and quality performances on the bill.

SCMF is staged at Ulverston's Coronation Hall and opens with brass classes on Sunday, including solo, duet and band performances. Star turns include Barrow Shipyard Junior Band, Barrow's Brasstastic and Millom's Holborn Hill Royal Brass Band Schools Section vying for the The Rotary Club of Ulverston Bursary and Shield. Sunday's events also feature brass heavyweights Dalton Town Band blowing solo as the sole entry for The John W Latimer Cup.

SCMF speech classes get off to a flying start on Monday (March 25), Tuesday is piano day and Wednesday there are classes for recorder, music making, woodwind, percussion and strings.

The school years vocal classes take place throughout Thursday and Friday. The school choir classes take place on Thursday. Friday evening features adult vocal classes with performances of songs from shows and folk songs along with other vocal classes. Saturday morning sees performances from the adult choirs.

Saturday evening (March 30) is the always special Gala Night, as usual with performers from throughout the week showcasing their talent. The evening includes the prestigious Esther C Crockery and Aprille C Bonner Performance Award. Tickets are available on 01229-584653.

Chairman Bob McClean said they were really looking forward to this year’s festival. "We have performers of all ages, individuals, ensembles, both school and adult choirs and bands and we finish the week with a gala night on Saturday with winning performers and guest artists. We hope to see people coming to enjoy a feast of local musical talent."

Mary Wakefield week also begins in terrific style at Kendal Parish Church on Saturday (7.30pm). The opener promises to be a great night with the Westmorland Orchestra sharing the spotlight with Cumbria Festival Chorus for the Berlioz choral masterpiece Te Deum. The programme also includes Mendelssohn’s fifth Reformation symphony.