The Weymouth and Dorset Music Festival will make a much-anticipated return on Saturday, March 7.

The day-long musical event will take place at St Aldehelm's Church & Centre, on Spa Road in Weymouth. The festival will be followed by a concert from selected entrants on Friday, March 13.

Welcoming amateur musicians of all ages and abilities, the festival gives individuals young and old the chance to perform in front of an audience and receive feedback from highly qualified, friendly adjudicators.

This year, categories will include choirs and vocal ensembles, musical theatre, strings, brass and woodwind, composition and the organ. Each will be adjudicated by a professional musician, including Philip Pooley, Simon Clarkson and Philippa Topman.

Philip began his musical career as a chorister in St Paul's Cathedral, before receiving a choral scholarship to Christ Church, Oxford. He went on to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has sung with many of the UK and Europe's leading chamber choirs.

Simon is the head of academic music and organist at Sherborne Girls' School, and regularly contributes to the weekly recital series in Sherborne Abbey.

Philippa, who studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, enjoyed an international career performing across Europe and the Middle East, before moving to Dorset and establishing a private piano, flute and singing practice.

Duncan Honeybourne, artistic advisor and a former participant of the event, commented: "As a young musician growing up in south Dorset, the Weymouth Music Festival offered a taste of the exciting musical world outside. I was enthused and inspired by celebrity adjudicators and relished the chance to test my skills and expand my horizons."

The Weymouth and Dorset Music Festival dates back to 1988, when it attracted more than 100 entrants. Individuals, small groups, large choirs and orchestras were all invited to enter, and any genre of music was allowed to be performed.

The popularity of the event increased over the years, welcoming more than 1000 entrants in 1996. Many previous competitors have gone on to pursue music as a career and achieve national recognition, including Jack Duxbury, Fiona Dalzell and Christina Ball.

The deadline for entry is Saturday, February 1, with information for applicants available at