A Tenby student became the first winner of a new ‘Open Guitar’ class at an annual music festival that celebrates Pembrokeshire’s young talent - with Willis Riley from Greenhill School performing The Trooper by Iron Maiden!

Trumpeter Carys Wood from Haverfordwest High VC School was the overall winner at this year’s Secondary Schools Valero Music Festival.

The annual festival, which is organised by the Pembrokeshire County Council Music Service and sponsored by Valero, took place at Ysgol Caer Elen on Saturday (November 18).

More than 240 young musicians from each of the County’s eight county secondary schools, Pembrokeshire College and further afield took part in individual and ensemble competitions throughout the day.

Later in the afternoon, an enthusiastic audience enjoyed a ‘Spotlight’ concert showcasing the individual winners and the winners of the instrumental and vocal ensemble competitions.

During the day, every performer who placed first, second and third in their class received a badge in recognition of their achievement.

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(Pic supplied)

Philippa Roberts, Head of Pembrokeshire Music Service, said: “I would like to congratulate every young musician who performed and supported one another on Saturday.

“Also, a heartfelt thank you to Valero, the Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians and the professional and encouraging adjudicating team who continue to support Pembrokeshire Music Service and our pupils.”

Sean O’Neill, ensembles adjudicator, expressed his admiration for the day.

“The standard of music making from all the young musicians was outstanding with loads of evidence of talent and potential coming through for the future! It was a great pleasure to be involved,” he said.

Trumpeter Carys Wood, was presented with the overall winners’ cup by brass adjudicator Corey Morris. Earlier in the day, Carys performed Virtuosity by Kenny Baker.

Winner of the Open Woodwind competition was James Townsend from Haverfordwest High VC School, who performed Czardas by Monti.

The Open String competition winner was cellist Isabel Raymond from Ysgol Caer Elen who performed Tarantella by WH Squire.

The Open Jazz winner was Dylan Sanders-Swales from Haverfordwest High VC School who performed his own arrangement of Whirlybird. Dylan was also the winner of the Open Percussion class. He performed a Super Mario Medley which he again arranged himself.

The Open Piano and Harp class was won by Jencyn Corp from Ysgol Bro Preseli who performed his own composition, Yr Afon.

The Open Vocal Competition was won by Rhys Williams from Ysgol Harri Tudur, who sang “It’s hard to speak my heart” from the musical Parade.

The first winner of the new Open Guitar class was Willis Riley from Greenhill, who performed The Trooper by Iron Maiden.

The Open Vocal Ensemble class winners were Haverfordwest High VC School’s upper voices ensemble. They performed an Adele mashup of Rumour has it/Someone like you.

The Open Instrumental Ensemble competition was won by Jencyn Corp and Lefi Dafydd of Ysgol Bro Preseli Deuadd piano, performing Norwegian Dance by Grieg.

The winners of the inaugural Open Rock and pop ensemble were The Messiaens from Haverfordwest High VC School. They performed Superstition by Stevie Wonder.

The hall at Ysgol Caer Elen was packed full as family, friends, and pupils who had performed earlier in the day all stayed to support the open winners.

The invited professional adjudicators - Timothy Angel, vocal; Sean O’Neill, ensemble; Christopher Vale, woodwind; Corey Morris, brass; Karin Jenkins, strings; Bethan Harkin, piano and harp; Ben Richards, instrumental; Nick Baron, percussion, guitar and Jazz – were greatly impressed with the high standard and strength of schools’ music on show from across the County.

County Music Service events coordinator Miranda Morgan thanked the adjudicators, teachers, parents and students for making the Festival such a success.

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(Pic supplied)

“We are overwhelmed at the amount of young people who have participated in this year’s festival – we had over double the number taking part this year compared to last year which is wonderful to see.

“The standard of playing has been impressive throughout and it has been fantastic to extend our classes to include guitar and rock and pop ensembles this year.”

The results of the day were as follows:


Grade 3 flute

1st – Tilly Laugharne – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Mali Jones-Hughes – HHVC

3rd – Erin Dando – MHS

Grade 3 clarinet and saxophone

1st – Sophie Gilmartin – Greenhill

2nd – Emily Dickinson – Greenhill

3rd – Jed Cox – Greenhill

Highly commended – Katherine Jones – Harri Tudur

Grade 4 woodwind

1st – Tom Pounder – MHS

2nd – Ollie Towe – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Bethan Packard – MHS

Grade 5 woodwind

1st – Ffion Evans – Ysgol Caer Elen

2nd – Catrin Jones – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Ela-Gwennon Jones – Ysgol Caer Elen

Grade 6 woodwind

1st – Noah Jenkins – HHVC

2nd – Gemma Armstrong – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Alice Hillen – HHVC and Eryn Howlett – MHS

Open woodwind

1st – James Townsend – HHVC

2nd – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Harry Armstrong – MHS


Grade 3 & 4 brass

1st – Elwyn Powell – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Owain Williams – HHVC

3rd – Harry Thomas – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Highly commended – Isabella Tawn – HHVC

Grade 5 brass

1st – Eliza Wood – Greenhill

2nd – Archie Noyce – Greenhill

3rd – Gwilym Jones – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Grade 6 brass

1st – Seren Barrett – Greenhill

2nd – Ioan Bromby – Greenhill and Andrew Johnson – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Jaap Harris – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Highly commended – Matthew Shaw – Greenhill, Arlo Jones – Greenhill, Kellan Rycroft – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Open brass

1st – Carys Wood – HHVC (and overall 2023 winner)

2nd – Carys Rycroft – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Filip Middlemist – HHVC


Grade 3

1st – Brooke Patterson – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Debora Calocane – HHVC

3rd – Emma Nicholas – Greenhill and Eira Kaill-Franks – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Highly commended – Janelle Cabral - HHVC

Grade 4

1st – Ruby Rapi – Ysgol Bro Preseli and Elena Gould

2nd – Sara James – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Kitty Kingsnorth

Highly commended – Grace Tilbury – Harri Tudur

Grade 5

1st – Annabel John – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

2nd – Cosmo Karenin – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

3rd – Anwen Sims – Ysgol Caer Elen

Grade 6

1st – Seren Barrett – Greenhill and Mia Burnett – HHVC

2nd – Tom Bridger – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

3rd – Gwenna Kennerley – HHVC

Highly commended – Esyllt Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Open strings

1st – Isabel Raymond – Ysgol Caer Elen

2nd – Maria Cabral – HHVC

3rd – Daisy Whitfield – Ysgol Bro Preseli

Highly commended – Freya Prout – Pembrokeshire College and Ella Bromby – Greenhill


Grade 3 and 4

1st – Harry Thomas – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

2nd – Anwen Sims – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd - Steffan James – Ysgol Caer Elen

Highly commended – Martha Bhari – Harri Tudur

Grade 5

1st – Abbie Collinson – Greenhill

2nd – Sara James – Ysgol Caer Elen and Siddha Saini – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Tom Bridger – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and Elena Gould (homeschooled)

Grade 6

1st – Cosmo Karenin – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Sebastian Semaani-Rodriguez – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi and Megan Evans – Ysgol Caer Elen

3rd – Emily Thomas – Greenhill

Highly commended – Matthew Shaw – Greenhill and Isabel Ramond – Ysgol Caer Elen

Open piano

1st – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

2nd – Lefi Dafydd – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Iestyn Barrellie – Greenhill

Highly commended – Jenifer Rees


Grade 3-6

1st – William Rowe – Penrhyn Dewi

2nd – Sam Berry – Ysgol Bro Gwaun and Jensen Luker – Ysgol Caer Elen

Open drum kit

1st – Dylan Sanders-Swales – HHVC

2nd – Libby Phillips – HHVC


Grade 3-5

1st – Lewis Murray – Ysgol Bro Gwaun

2nd – Steffan James – Ysgol Caer Elen

Open guitar

1st – Willis Riley – Greenhill


Grade 3-5

1st – Tom Pounder – MHS

2nd – Eryn Howlett – MHS

Open jazz

1st – Dylan Sanders-Swales – HHVC

2nd – Jencyn Corp – Ysgol Bro Preseli

3rd – Jed Davies – Pembrokeshire College


Popular vocals years 7-9

1st - Bella Carrol - Harri Tudur

2nd - Sophie Jones - Harri Tudur

3rd - Maisie Tennick - Caer Elen

Highly commended - Davinia Foster - Harri Tudur

Popular vocals years 10-13

1st - Millie Evans-Thomas - Greenhill

2nd - Honey Johnston – HHVC, Mia Young – Greenhill and Libby Banner - HHVC

3rd - Lacey-May Mattson – HHVC and Gwenna Kennerley - HHVC

Highly commended – Theo Butland - Harri Tudur

Musical theatre and classical vocals years 7-9

1st - Maya Welton – Ysgol Bro Preseli

2nd - Claire Hooper-Rees - HHVC

3rd - Martha Bhari - Harri Tudur and Rosabelle Chatwin – Ysgol Caer Elen

Highly commended - Caitlyn Sanders-Swales – MHS

Musical theatre and classical vocals years 10-13

1st - Ella Bromby - Greenhill

2nd - Iestyn Finch - HHVC

3rd - Mia Burnett – HHVC and Bella McCare - HHVC

Highly commended - Edie Morris – Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi

Open vocals

1st - Rhys Williams - Harri Tudur

2nd - Eliza Jessica Bradbury - Pembrokeshire College

3rd - Megan Lloyd - MHS

Highly commended - Bethan Raymond – HHVC


Instrumental ensemble grade 5-

1st – Ysgol Bro Preseli violin quartet

2nd – Greenhill Clarinet trio

Open instrumental ensemble

1st – Ysgol Bro Preseli deuawd piano

2nd – Ysgol Bro preseli piano a ffliwt

3rd – HHVC violin quartet

Open vocal ensemble

1st – HHVC upper voices ensemble

2nd – HHVC lower voices ensemble

3rd – Harri Tudur vocal ensemble

Rock and pop ensemble grade 5-

1st – Ysgol Caer Elen

2nd – HHVC

3rd – Harri Tudur

Highly commended – HHVC Band 2

Open Rock and pop ensemble

1st – “The Messiaens” – HHVC

2nd – HHVC KS4 band

3rd – Greenhill school band

Highly commended – HHVC Band #1