TALENTED youngsters got Inverclyde’s 97th music festival under way in style with the windy weather doing little to dampen spirits.

All Saints Primary pupils kicked off another year of music and fun at Greenock Town Hall yesterday with a fantastic performance of Flanders & Swann’s Hippopotamus Song (Mud, Glorious Mud), which followed an opening speech from festival president Isabel Lind.

The primary threes were awarded the Doull Cup for their efforts, a trophy which was donated by Mrs Lind and her brother in honour of their parents.

The school choir’s performance is the first of many fantastic contributions that local youngsters will be making to the festival over the coming fortnight.

Greenock Telegraph: Inverclyde Music Festival gets underway.

Primary three teacher Maria Shield told the Telegraph she was delighted to see the children’s hard work pay off.

She said: “We’re very proud of them, today was a bit of a windy start but they all made it in.

“We’ve been practicing since before Christmas, so it was great to get a good mark.

“The choir includes all the children from primary three, it’s not a selected group or anything.

“It’s all inclusive and encourages all of them to sing.

“Our music teacher Donald Campbell was playing the piano, so I ended up conducting.

“It’s exciting to kick off the festival like this and brilliant to win a trophy.

“The children are going to enjoy showing that to the rest of the school and performing for them."

The pupils’ performance wowed adjudicator Jonathan Rea, who had braved fierce weather conditions to fly in from Belfast for the festival’s first day.

Despite the treacherous conditions posed by Storm Isha, thee experienced musician managed to board his flight and arrive in Inverclyde with time to spare.

Greenock Telegraph: Inverclyde Music Festival gets underway.

He said: “I turned up at the airport, saw the weather as I parked the car and I thought ‘I don’t think this plane’s going to go’.

“But luckily Belfast airport has two runways so they were able to get a direction that worked for take-off.

“Once we were in the air it was a rough ride, I would say it’s probably the bumpiest flight I’ve ever been on. I was pretty impressed with the captain’s work, passengers were swaying from side to side and knocking into each other as the plane was up in the air.

“I was glad to get back down, but when I landed there were no trains running, but I did manage to get myself to Inverclyde in the end.

Greenock Telegraph: Inverclyde Music Festival gets underway.

“It’s good to have made it, this is a beautiful hall and it’s great for the kids to be able to perform in an environment like this.

“There are many festivals that are struggling to get entries across the country but things seem very healthy here.

“All Saints did a brilliant job singing for us, there was lots of energy in their performance, which was lovely.”

Festival president Mrs Lind said she was delighted to get the annual gala off and running with a trophy which hold a special place in her heart.

Greenock Telegraph: Inverclyde Music Festival gets underway.

She added: “It meant a lot to me to see a school from the east end winning it.

“That part of the town taught me so much, I loved working there.

“I had a former pupil I taught at King’s Glen come forward, who was a grandparent of one of the pupils from All Saints, so that was very special.

“It was a relief when Jonathan made it here despite the storm, it must have been frightening.

“He has a fantastic way with the children.

“We’re delighted to be underway and looking forward to what’s ahead.

"There’s such a variety of classes which is brilliant."