STOKESLEY SongFest is a celebration of many different genres of music from around the world, and an opportunity not just to listen, but to participate, learn and have fun.

Building on the success of the first one last February, there is even more on offer this year; something for all ages over the weekend of February 21-23, taking place in Stokesley Methodist church, a pass for all events costing only £15.

This year, two singer-songwriters will be joining the team, as well as the Middlesbrough Asylum Project, 16-year-old local singer Georgia Williams, and local community and school groups, who will be entertaining the crowds over lunch.

There is plenty for children with a World Singalong for primary age children and a ceilidh for five year olds and up, as well as individual appointments for music therapy sessions. There is also a workshop for youngsters 14 and above covering medieval songs to the present day.

Professional singers, actors, composers and musicians will both entertain and hold workshop,s which allow people of all abilities to have a go and have fun.

One of the great hits of last year were opera singers, Emily Smith and David Pisaro with their community singing of world music and their brilliant attempt with a large crowd of novices to make an opera in an hour. Local musician, Jeremy Harbottle will be hosting the Come and Sing Musicals from the 1930s to the present day and the hosts, the Methodist church, will be holding their own, Come and Sing Hymns.

Amongst the new events for this year are Mindfulness with Song, an introduction to basic mindfulness practice; Circle Peace Songs for Families, with singer-songwriter Joe Holtaway; and Sing it Like You Mean It, run by Deborah Catterall (York Waits) and Gareth Glyn Roberts (actor and poet).

Refreshments will be available, and further details are on the website at

By Jan Hunter