The Kent Music Festival  -- a disaster
In 1949 St Margaret's sent one girl to compete in this festival. The candidates had been asked in the printed syllabus to prepare a piano solo in the key of G major. Many had an early start and travelled a long way. But when their moment came, the adjudicator decided the piece should be in G minor instead, so many children returned home without playing, their weeks of practice wasted. The festival authorities refused to refund their entrance fees.
The Folkestone Music Festival -- hope for the future
This was revived in 1951 for the first time since the war, and was an oustanding success. It was run by Mr Norman Castle (Chairman) and Mr Robert Flashman (Secretary), supported by fellow-Rotarians. Of St Margaret's 35 entries in dancing, drama and verse-speaking, there were ten 1st awards, eight 2nd awards and five girls were placed third. There was no time to prepare girls for instrumental or choral sections --- success in those areas was yet to come.
Now we'll show them!
1952, and the School came up trumps in the Festival. Out of 34 events in which they competed, the girls won 21 firsts, 17 seconds, 12 thirds and four silver cups: for 2-part choir, 3-part choir, Carol Temkin in solo drama and Susan Dolton tied with Zonia Field for the highest aggregate marks in dancing. Impressive stuff. Events included choir, piano (solo, duet and accompaniment), verse-speaking, mime, drama, dance (duet, ballet, national, character, plastique, open and 'baby class'}, showing that St Mags went in for diversity as well as excellence.
Sour grapes?
1953 was such a success for the School that there were mutterings about town that we had put more pupils in for it than any other school just to get as many prizes as possible. We certainly had more of the total of 700+ entries than any other school, but not all our girls expected to win anything: it was more for the experience, the fun and the School's desire to support a well-run festival. In the 41 events they entered, the girls gained 29 first and 20 second awards. Young Susan Dolton shone with a first in piano, 3 firsts and a second in dancing, and 2 of the 11 cups won by the School.
The Under 14 Percussion band, who won the Salter Cup at the Folkestone Music Festival in 1955. Jane Merrow conducted, Caroline Thomas at the piano.
In 1956, 100% marks in Theory of Music examinations were gained by Carolyn Anderson at grade IV and Shahla Sadr at grade III.
1958: Caroline Thomas and Susan Dolton passed Grade VI piano with merit, Pary Ebrahimzadeh passed Grade VII with distinction, and all three passed Grade V Theory of Music.
The 1960 Festival brought the School the Bobby Cup for gaining the highest number of First Awards, and this was the seventh year in succession!
Lower V in singing class with Mrs Johnson, 1961-62.
In Michaelmas term 1965 Mrs Thomas, music teacher, started violin, recorder and guitar classes, which met with huge enthusiasm. That Christmas these young musicians, together with the choir, performed in a carol concert in the School Hall.