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Celebrating life of superstar Kathleen Ferrier
THE finest young singers in the country will head to Blackburn at the weekend as part of the centenary celebrations for the town’s most famous performer.
A full weekend of activities is planned to mark the birth of contralto Kathleen Ferrier who, after winning a singing competition, went from working at Blackburn Telephone Exchange to becoming one of the most famous women in the world before she died from cancer aged 41.
The culmination of the weekend will be annual competition to award the Kathleen Ferrier Bursary for Young Singers on Sunday.
But before there will also be two concerts on Saturday and a special presentation on the singer’s life and legacy on Friday night.
Sylvia Alexander, chairman of the Kathleen Ferrier Society, said: “Since January there have been around 80 different events to mark the centenary across the UK and further afield, but this is the society’s big weekend. It’s a chance for East Lancashire to get involved in the celebrations.”
Sylvia said publicity surrounding the centenary, including the issue of a special commemorative stamp and a series of high profile concerts around the country, had led to an influx of new members for the society.
“We have new members from all over the world joining almost on a weekly basis,” she said. “Only last week we had some distant relatives of Kathleen joining from America.
“The whole weekend is a chance for the public to share in the celebrations and to be proud.”
The centenary events start at 8pm tomorrow when Kathleen Ferrier’s biographer Paul Campion will give a presentation on her life and legacy.
On Saturday afternoon, Thomas Isherwood, who was the winner of last year’s bursary award will give a recital with soprano Hayley Eyley.
In the evening four soloists from the Royal Northern College of Music and leading mezzo soprano Diana Moore will take part in a centenary concert,.
The competition to find this year’s bursary award runs throughout Sunday with 16 young singers, aged 19 to 24, representing the eight top music colleges in the country taking part.
The winner will receive £3,000 to help with their studies with further prizes of £1,500 and £750 for runners-up. Previous winners include Rhydian Roberts who, via the X Factor, has gone on to star in the West End. For tickets call 0844 847 1664.