Festival News

Josh plays that sax with the world's greatest!


Josh with John Harle


The Manx Music Festival, supported by the Dandara Group, awarded several scholarships at the end of Guild week 2017 to promising young musicians, singers, dancers and actors in celebration of its 125th anniversary in April.

One lucky recipient was 16 year old Joshua Brown, an extremely talented young saxophonist who wowed adjudicators and audiences alike with his playing during the Festival, and Josh has used his award to further his music studies by having lessons with renowned saxophonist, composer and record producer, John Harle.

John Harle was described by the BBC as “the most recorded Saxophonist the world” and he has enjoyed an illustrious musical career.  An Ivor Novello award winner, he has been artistic advisor to musical legends such as Sir Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello as well as producing diverse artists such as Lesley Garrett and Herbie Hancock.  He is also famous for composing many well-known film and television scores and themes, most notably the theme tune to the BBC’s Silent Witness.

Using his scholarship, Josh was able to travel to meet John Harle and over the course of two days, enjoyed lessons with the maestro himself.  Josh said “I had an incredible two days.  I learned so much and found it all very inspiring. Not only did John tell me ways in which I can improve my playing but he also gave me some ideas of different possibilities further down the line and how I can make a career out of playing the saxophone.”

Sarah Kelly, Chairman of the Guild, said “We are delighted to support young people on the Island who have taken part in the Guild recognising their talent and dedication, and we were extremely excited to hear of the wonderful opportunity given to Josh as a result of his award.” 

Last year, the Festival took the decision to amalgamate the various small scholarships and legacies left over the years into substantial scholarships of up to £1,000 and four awards were made to celebrate the Guild’s special anniversary to John Kaighin for singing, Jack Smollen for drama, Skyler Aitcheson for dance and to Joshua Brown for music.  The Executive Committee of the Guild have announced that next year, the Festival Scholarship will be awarded for drama, and the scholarships will then be awarded in rotation through the disciplines in the next four years.

Sarah added, “Josh has used his scholarship in exactly the way the scholarships are intended – to provide opportunity and a way of furthering study in the arts which would perhaps not be available locally or which needs financial support.”  Josh added his thanks to the Guild for an amazing and life changing opportunity, saying “this has pushed me to want to become the best musician I can be”.

The 2018 Manx Competitive Music, Speech and Dance Festival will run at the Villa Marina from 20th-28th April 2018.  Further details will be available in the Festival Syllabus which will be available in outlets Island wide in October.


About Dandara

Established in 1988, Dandara specialises in the design and construction of innovative homes and commercial properties, which offer real value for money without compromising on design, durability or quality.

Over the last 27 years the Dandara Group has become one of the UK's leading independent property development companies, delivering a fully integrated design and build service from its headquarters in the Isle of Man and offices across the UK, completing more than 11,000 new homes and receiving more than 80 industry awards for design and quality.

To find out more about Dandara’s new communities and innovative commercial developments please visit: www.dandara.com or call 01624 693300.

Countdown to Festival

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27th April - 4th May 2019

Congratulations to the winners of trophies for 2018. Please ensure that you return your trophy clean, engraved and in good condition to Morrison Photos, 3 Tynwald Street, Douglas by Saturday, 30th March 2019. Thank you.


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