Festivals are a real inspiration
St Austell Festival of Music and Speech
MANY young boys and girls have a lot to be thankful for with the large number of competitive music festivals throughout Cornwall.
The competitors start nervous and uncertain; they grow under the guidance of their teachers and adjudicators; some go on to achieve great things in the musical world.
They all get a great character-building push which sets them on their way and gives them confidence in life.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef wellingtons
Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Sunday, December 15 2013
It is no secret that the general level of adult vocal classes, both as soloists and in choirs, has fallen throughout the festivals.
Anne Keast, the inspiring general secretary at the St Austell festival, states in this year's syllabus that the contribution by all singers is very much appreciated; the audiences love them.
I remember from my days in Treviscoe choir that there was usually a trip to some distant festival each year but, more importantly, it was felt that local festivals needed supporting, so we went to at least one every year.
I know travel is much more expensive these days but, within Cornwall, it should still be possible.
Anne also tells us about an increase in guitar classes, plus lessons for young composers and performers. If you wish to enter for a class not listed, Anne has an open door and an open mind.
So, to details of the St Austell festival. The first important date for you to note is Monday, October 7, the latest date of entry. For a syllabus, and any other details, ring Anne on 01726 61444.
The festival website is www.staustellfestival.org
The festival takes place between Wednesday and Saturday, November 20 and 23, for the spoken word class; between Monday and Saturday, 25 and 30, for the music class; and not forgetting the Festival Concert on Saturday, November 30, at 7pm.
Newquay Choral Society
NEWQUAY Choral Society and its conductor, David Burleigh, have had the chance to get know each other and are enjoying the experience.
They are now working for the Christmas concert in their new home at St Columb Minor Church Hall, ready to perform (with the new organ) in St Michael's Church.
Vivaldi's Gloria will be the starting piece; a more recent and oft-used Fred Shoesmith will be represented, as will be Merritt, with his carols – and more.
New members will be made most welcome. No voice test or audition is needed. Rehearsals are held every Monday, starting at 7.30pm.
For more information ring Sue Mills, publicity officer, on 01637 876416 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Songs of the Sea
WE MOVE up the coast for Wadebridge Choral Society's summer concert.
There was a good theme for somewhere like Wadebridge on a summer evening when the singers were relaxed and definitely in a summer mood.
In the unaccustomed evening heat, it was the ideal place for a cool paddle.
Nicholas Danks chose widely from traditional sea songs like Tom Bowling and Spanish Ladies to Highland favourites The Skye Boat Song and Bridge Over Troubled Waters, with a sea shanty, in which everyone joined in: What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor.
There were some George Dyson songs for sailors and excerpts from the G&S HMS Pinafore.
Nicholas Danks's hand gave some stirring arrangements. We swayed and sang; we probably all had a rolling gait as we made our way home afterwards.
So it is back to work after the holidays, looking to Christmas and Easter.
If you would like to join this choral society, which knows how to work hard and play hard, ring George Dale on 01208 815981.
Truro Three Arts
I PROMISED you last month more details on this year's 2013-14 concert series. So here we are.
On September 24, Paul Drayton will, as usual, start the ball rolling by talking about and illustrating the season's programme.
Paul's popular and entertaining talks are an excellent introduction to T3A if you haven't already sampled it.
You will be surprised how much you learn without knowing it. As well as being a brilliant musician he is an inspiring teacher.
The first "official" concert is on Friday, October 18, with four young and exciting musicians who call themselves Red Priest.
They play not only Vivaldi (he with the red beard) but music by many of his contemporaries who were fascinated by the Baroque era in all its strange and ethereal ways.
On Friday, November 15, Truro Three Arts will welcome back the Kandinsky Piano Trio after eight years of globetrotting. Their programme will feature music by Haydn, Schnittke and Schubert.
The Fibonacci Sequence is named after an Italian mathematician who devised a sequence of numbers to explain plant growth. It is also the name of a dazzlingly good chamber ensemble with a piano quartet plus horn and clarinet.
Come and hear them on Friday, December 6, when they will play music by Handel, Brahms, Schumann and Dohnányi – and a near-new sextet by Cornish composer Graham Fitkin.
The new year programme opens on Friday, January 17, with South Korean violinist Julia Hwang and accompanist James Drinkwater.
Just how dynamic and exciting these two are will be revealed in music by Grieg, Debussy, Ravel, Beethoven, Rachmaninov and Wieniawski.
February's concert is on Friday 14 with Ailish Tynan, soprano, and Iain Burnside, piano.
Among many other prizes, Ailish won the 2003 Rosenblatt Recital Competition at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World. She's that good. As indeed is Iain Burnside, a regular at St Endellion.
Songs will be by Schumann, Mendelssohn, Parry, Bridge, Britten and Moeran.
Finally, we come to The Martinu Quartet with Gemma Rosefield, cellist, on Friday, March 14.
Their brilliance comes from Prague. They are regular, and welcome, visitors to Cornwall. Their musical contribution comes from Schubert, Schulhoff and Taneyev.
An inspiring end to the year during which Truro Three Arts has found for us mainly young musicians who have a refreshing outlook on the music they perform, lifting us oldies in the audience to a new plane of experience.
Tickets sell like hot cakes. Get them from Hall for Cornwall on 01872 262466 or www.hallforcornwall.co.uk – they cost a mere £15.
For other information, including the advantages of being a member, visit truro3arts.co.uk. I will keep you updated each month.
A musical friend to Cornwall
I AM talking of Ann Fleet, a lady who has done a tremendous amount for Cornwall in the musical world both as a conductor and an accompanist.
Since 1994, she has directed what is now The Imerys Singers, and what was when she joined it the ECC Ladies' Choir. She now wishes to retire.
So Imerys Singers are looking for a new musical director. Ann is happy to stay on until Christmas, but no longer; the call of retirement is too great. I know just what she means.
Ann was born in Middlesex and studied not just for a degree in music, which she got at Sheffield University, but as a music librarian.
Before she came down to Cornwall in 1971 she was librarian at Sheffield University Music Library, after which she took up the post of music librarian here in Cornwall.
However, Ann was not finished with studies. She took a piano-teaching diploma in 1980 and I know only too well that there are many who have been inspired by her teaching skills.
Ann's fame soon spread. Her accompanying skills are known by Duchy Opera and at many musical festivals. It was in 1990 that Ann first came to the aid of ECC Ladies as accompanist and, in 1994, took over the baton.
Anyone taking on Imerys Singers now will have a first-class choir to deal with, used to hard work, to dealing with a wide variety of music, but whose members enjoy what they do and have a lot of fun at the same time.
If you are interested in taking on this demanding but enjoyable task, ring Margaret Jane on 01726 73833.
And to Ann, a long and happy retirement.
September in the cathedral
THERE are two important visits this month. On Sunday 7, Harry Christophers conducts The Sixteen, making a welcome return.
The last time they came, the cathedral was full to bursting and the reception very lively for this world-class group of singers.
This time they present The Queen Of Heaven Tour, in which they will take you through the musical evolution of Allegri's legendary and much-requested Miserere.
The programme will also feature music by Palestrina as well as Macmillan's Miserere. To help us through this, there will be a pre-concert talk at 7pm. Tickets available from www.hallforcornwall.co.uk or 01872 262466.
The second visit will be on Saturday 28, when there will be a return of The Boyan Ensemble, a Ukrainian choir which produces a stunning, almost unworldly, and quite thrilling, sound.
They will bring an exciting mixture of Eastern Orthodox church music and intriguing Ukrainian folk songs, performed in traditional costume. For tickets try www.trurocathedral.org.uk or 01872 262466.
There are four free lunchtime choral concerts this month, all beginning at 1pm. They will feature four choirs.
On Saturday 7, the concert will feature St Stythians Male Voice Choir; on Monday 9, Schola Cantorum; on Saturday 21, The Riverside Singers; and on Saturday 28, Mabe Ladies' Choir.
Organ recitals continue on Fridays, at 1.10pm, with Nicholas Sutton, from Doncaster Minster, on the 13th; Philip Davey, of Truro Methodist Church, on the 20th, and Mike Edwards on the 27th.
Luke Bond will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Father Willis organ on Friday, September 20. Need I say more? Entry £7 (students £5, under-18s free) at the door.
A last call for IMS autumn concerts
HERE are the basic facts. The following concerts are given by the musically very mature "students" who work during the week at Prussia Cove.
The programme for each concert depends on this and never fails to be a very rewarding surprise.
For the first weekend the concerts are on Friday 13, at 7.30pm, in Truro School Chapel; on Saturday 14, at 7.30pm, in Marazion Community Centre; and on Sunday 15, at 2.30pm, in St Buryan Church.
The next weekend, Friday 20, at 7.30pm, the concert will be at a new venue, St Bartholomew's Church, Porthleven; on Saturday 21, at 7.30pm, in St Gluvias' Church, Penryn; and on Sunday 22, at 2.30pm, a welcome return to St Hilary Church.
For the last weekend there will be concerts at 7.30pm on Friday and Saturday, 27 and 28, both in St Pol de Leon Church, Paul.
The final concert will be given by the "maestri" (the teachers), at St John's Church, Truro, on Sunday 29 at 6pm. The music will be by Schubert, Brahms, Mozart and Fauré. On the chance that tickets may still be available, try calling 01736 763264 or visit www.i-m-s.org.uk.
September at the Hall
FILLING, as I am sure it will, the Hall between Monday, September 16, and Saturday 28, will be a show with some of the most inspiring music ever written.
Evita is the masterpiece of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
It brings to life the dynamic passions of Eva Perón, a girl of humble beginnings who rose in a troubled country to become the wife of the Argentinian dictator, with its wealth and power and with its ultimate acceptance of Eva's role as the spiritual dictator.
Don't Cry For Me Argentina, You Must Love Me and many more will all be part of the memorable spectacle.
For one night only, tonight there is another musical legend that just won't go away. Glen Miller is long dead, but his music is as indestructible as Handel's Messiah.
Try your luck for a ticket on 01872 262466.
... and finally
WHILE most choirs are relaxing after the summer break, Mousehole Male Voice Choir will be out and about in September.
On Sunday 8 they will be in Carbis Bay Chapel; on Sunday 15 they will take part in the Kidz R Us festival, in St Ives; and on Saturday 28, at 7.30pm, in the company of Mevagissey Male Choir, they will appear at St Andrew's Church, Mevagissey.