A TRADITIONAL music and speech festival has announced several new changes to its line-up for next year.

Designed to widen its appeal, the format for the 2013 Wensleydale Tournament of Song will include several new classes.

Taking charge for the first time of next year’s festival is Val Nelson, who, as president, came up with the ideas for new classes.

She said: “Although it is a competition, it is also a festival and I wanted to widen its appeal and make it a bit different. I hope the new ideas I have introduced will include something for everyone to enjoy.”

New classes in the junior speech include a non-Shakespeare sonnet, a prose reading duet and a verse speaking duet. In the senior competition, the new classes are a Shakespeare solo, Shakespeare sonnet, a prose-reading duet, a verse speaking duet and diary reading.

The music section of the tournament hopes to capitalise on the Gareth Malone factor, which has seen several new musical groups spring up throughout the Dales and at schools.

New classes in the junior group are six hands at one piano, a woodwind duet, a celebration of music from special schools, an informal singing group, two contrasting songs, a musical show song and musical theatre.

The senior musical section will also feature classes for a gospel or spiritual song or hymn, musical theatre, a woodwind duet, vocal ensembles, accordion, melodeon or concertina solos, a novice duet or trio, anthems and community choirs.

Mrs Nelson said: “It is important to show off the talent we have here in Wensleydale.

“Although where appropriate it has to be a serious competition, I also want it to be about having some fun.

“We would love to see anybody who fancies coming along and just having a go.”

The 2013 Wensleydale Tournament of Song will take place from March 11 to March 22 in Leyburn.

The syllabus is now available from Towlers Newsagents in Leyburn and the Dales Countryside Museum, Hawes, or download from www.dalesmusic.co.uk The closing date for entries is January 31.