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Dandara renews title sponsorship of the Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival

The Dandara Group has renewed its title sponsorship of the Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival for a further three years.

The award-winning developer became the first ever headline sponsor of the Festival, also known as The Guild, in 2015 and has now confirmed the partnership will continue.

The Guild, which marked its 125th anniversary in April, continues to go from strength to strength and with the investment and support of Dandara has added new classes, reinvigorated the Guild Week programme, grown entry numbers, introduced online entry and embarked on community events outside the Festival itself.

Hannah Spencer and Lily Burt, prize winners in the Recorder and Tin Whistle Duet up to Year 6 class at the 2017 Guild
Hannah Spencer and Lily Burt, prize winners in the Recorder and Tin Whistle Duet up to Year 6 class at the 2017 Guild

The introduction of new classes, including the popular Battle of the Bands, and performances, such as the Festival’s Finest showcase, has helped to broaden the Guild’s audience and seen participant numbers increase to more than 4,000.

With Dandara’s backing the Festival has expanded its community involvement, for example bringing renowned flautist and composer Simeon Wood to the Island to inspire young woodwind players at workshops and performances in Sulby and Douglas, and hosting the Guild Goes South concert showcasing Festival-standard song, instrumental, dance and drama performances.

The Festival also arranged a Competing in Dance workshop, overseen by acclaimed dance adjudicator Jill Baldock, to prepare teachers and students for new dance categories introduced since 2015.

With the ongoing support of Dandara, the Festival Committee will continue to grow the Guild and has exciting plans for 2018 and beyond.

Festival Chairman Sarah Kelly said:

During the last three festivals we have been very appreciative of the sponsorship of the Dandara Group, not only for its generous financial support but also for the skill and imagination of their marketing team which has helped us enormously. Much like Dandara, we are continuing to build on very firm foundations and we are thrilled that our continued relationship will also allow us to continue to grow.

This year we celebrated the 125th anniversary of the Guild, a remarkable achievement. We have weathered the storms of the years and continued to nurture and develop the finest singers, musicians, dancers, actors and speakers, and our audiences have learnt to appreciate the high standard of performance. While we look back to those who founded the Festival in 1892 and to all who have served, guided and supported the Festival since, we also look forward to the future with confidence that the best is yet to come.

The Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival is one of the oldest, but certainly the largest festival of its type in the British Isles. We have much to be celebrating, and long may it continue to spread its valuable influence on the lives of the people of the Island and give happiness and enjoyment to those who value and strive for all that is finest and best in the art of music, speech and dance.

Isaac Kreisky, trophy winner in the Year 2 Spoken Word class at the 2017 Guild
Isaac Kreisky, trophy winner in the Year 2 Spoken Word class at the 2017 Guild

Dandara Group Managing Director Seamus Nugent added:

The Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival is the largest participation event in the Isle of Man’s cultural scene and we were honoured to become the first headline sponsor in its long and illustrious history.

Over the past three Festivals we have been impressed by the hard work of the committee and everyone involved in the Guild as they worked towards enhancing the programme to attract new participants and larger audiences. While preserving and celebrating the traditions of the Festival, the committee has introduced diverse new classes, new performances and new community events which have reinvigorated the Guild.

We had no hesitation in renewing our partnership for a further three years, which will see our headline sponsorship continue until at least 2020, and we look forward to seeing the Guild continue to flourish.

The next Manx Music, Speech and Dance Festival takes place from 20th to 28th April 2018.

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