Practicing together at the parish church of St John the Baptist are four of the youngest due to take part – from left to right above, Hannah (9), Evelyn (9), Noelle (6) and Hannie (7) – who are members of the Barnet Suzuki violin group.

Reaching out to the community to encourage young musicians is one of the key objectives of the festival which is now in its third year.

Local musicians and singers will close the festival with an afternoon concert at the parish church on Saturday 16 July in celebration of the life of Jean Middlemiss who gave unstinting assistance to local musicians and an who was an enthusiastic supporter of local concerts and events.

Throughout her life she gave every encouragement to very young children to learn to play instruments by ear.

Joshua Ballance, the festival’s artistic director, has welcomed the support of Patricia Yorke who has taken the lead in helping to organise the final charity concert to raise funds for Barnet Carers and contribute towards a prize in the name of Jean Middlemiss which will support a young violist at the Royal College of Music.

“Our charity concert will feature local musicians aged from six to sixty – and over – and is our chance to commemorate the life of a renowned music educator.”

Jean, who lived at Ravenscroft Park with her sister Barbara, died at the age of 94.

In an obituary in The Guardian, Jean was described by Sally Beamish as a distinguished musician and teacher who had made a major contribution to British musical life.

She was appointed head of music at South Hampstead High School in 1957 where she was said to have been an inspirational teacher.

In 1971 she went to Japan to study the innovative method of music teaching inspired by Dr Shinichi Suzuki.

On her return she became music adviser for East Hertfordshire and drew of Suzuki’s techniques both during her teaching career and in her support for Barnet Suzuki group established by Hannah Biss.

Hannah recalled that after leaving college and setting up Suzuki workshops, Jean gave her endless support and encouragement and attended every single concert.

“When I set up my Suzuki group in Barnet, I realised that Jean lived round the corner, and had a stream of children she knew who should learn with me.” 

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For further details see  Box office is now open – tickets are from £5 - £15, with some free entry for 25s. and under.

The festival is supported by Arts Council England, the Leche Trust, the Fenton Arts Trust, the Music Reprieval Trust, and the Cavatina Chamber Music Trust.

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