Organisers of a major music festival are sounding the opening note for this year’s event.

Entries are now being invited for the 54th annual Haydn Wood Music Festival, which takes place from November 14 to 16 at Linthwaite Methodist Church.

And a new class has been introduced for complete beginners on any instrument other than piano.

Entrants must be aged 11 or under and of pre-Grade 1 exam standard. They will be required to play a test piece of their own choice.

The entry fee is £1.50 and there will be a £5 prize for the winner.

Vice-chairman Margaret Fearnley said novice musicians were often put off taking part because they did not think they were good enough or feared they would be up against someone much more experienced.

“The aim is to take away the fear of playing in front of a large number of people rather than just their teacher,” she said.

The syllabus for the 54th annual festival, which celebrates the internationally-acclaimed Slaithwaite composer, features classes for brass, woodwind, strings, classical guitar, organ or keyboard, instrumental duets and ensembles as well as a recital class.

The adjudicator will be Robert Marsh, of Sutton in Craven.

Entry forms are being sent to schools and music tutors, but individuals are also encouraged to enter.

Mrs Fearnley said organisers were particularly keen to attract more entries for brass classes after a slight fall in numbers last year – although total entries across all categories were up.

Haydn Wood was born in Slaithwaite on March 25, 1882. When he was three, his family moved to the Isle of Man.

In 1897, he studied violin and composition at the Royal College of Music and was soloist at a special concert commemorating the opening of the Royal College of Music’s concert hall in 1901.

From 1913 to 1926, he toured extensively with the soprano Dorothy Court, whom he married in 1909.

From 1939, he served as a director of the Performing Right Society.

He died in a London nursing home on 11 March 1959, two weeks before his 77th birthday.

Haydn Wood was a prolific composer of orchestral music. He also wrote more than 180 songs.

The festival was set up in his memory, originally for local young people to take part in at Colne Valley High School.

Today, the contest attracts musicians from all over Kirklees and Calderdale.

Entry forms can be downloaded at or you can contact the secretary Mrs M Stead, 39 Gordon Street, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield, HD7 5LN.

The closing date for entries is October 4, 2013.