The biggest music festival in Huddersfield is back.

Over 3,000 people are getting ready to showcase their talent at the Mrs Sunderland Festival, which will burst into life on Thursday at the Town Hall.

And young people will be at the heart of the iconic 10 day event, which will see them vie for trophies in 96 classes in front of the public, including for the prestigious Kirklees Young Musician of the Year title.

Piano recitals will kick off the action at 2pm on Thursday, when eight classes will take place.

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The Kirklees Young Musician contest will take place on Friday at 2pm.

It will be a tough call between the 11 musicians picked to compete .

Amongst them will be Royal Academy of Music student and cellist Will Robertson, flautist and Huddersfield Grammar School pupil Imogen Davey, former member of Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra and violinist Abigail Askew and pianist Alex Osman, a student at the University of Huddersfield.

Members of the Huddersfield Sikh Temple Dhol Academy and the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra are pictured in their joint piece: Come What May from Moulin Rouge which they will play at a concert in Huddersfield Town Hall.
Members of the Huddersfield Sikh Temple Dhol Academy and the Kirklees Youth Symphony Orchestra are pictured in their joint piece: Come What May from Moulin Rouge which they will play at a concert in Huddersfield Town Hall.

The popular Walt Disney morning is back again for its second year on Saturday morning.

Another big highlight will be the festival’s first ever performance of the Armed Man.

A total of 280 adults will take place in a singing workshop led by Thom Meredith on the morning of February 21, to learn pieces created by Sir Karl Jenkins.

They will go on stage that evening with the backing of a symphony orchestra and soloists at 4pm that day.

A swing, sing and sign event will see over 600 school children come together to perform songs learnt in advance for the deaf and raise awareness of those with hearing difficulties.

It will take place in the main hall on the morning on February 25.

A ukulele class will pit groups from around the area against each other on the evening of the same day.

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Ray Brown, chair of the festival is impressed by the increase in entrants this year, which are up 17% on last year.

Previously, Mr Brown put the decline in numbers down to lack of funding for arts services in schools.

“Some schools really excel but we get others where the emphasis isn’t there as much.

Mrs Sunderland Music Festival - Festival chairman, Ray Brown.

“When you see the children on stage, though, you are reminded of how important it is to fund these services.

The first “Mrs Sunderland” was held in April 1889 with just 37 competitors - 27 lady singers and 10 pianists.

It was named after soprano Susannah Sunderland who was born in Brighouse and was known as The Yorkshire Queen of Song.

The festival has taken place every year since except in 1940, the first year of World War II.

Members of the public are encouraged to come and watch every day, with cheap day tickets available from the Mrs Sunderland desk in the town hall.

For more information, visit www.mrssunderlandfestival.com

Susannah Sunderland, founder of the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival in Huddersfield
Susannah Sunderland, founder of the Mrs Sunderland Music Festival in Huddersfield