We wish to extend a very warm welcome to you all and hope you will support this year’s fabulous festival which kicks off with the Street Party in the Square to which everyone is invited – this fantastic community event has an excellent variety of food stalls, bars and great music.
New this year – the morning recitals now start at 11.30am with coffee available from the Church team from 10.30am.
Our wonderfully broad programme of events has great emphasis on youth and diversity, and yes, melody too! Listen out for wonderful tunes in the Borodin Quartet performed by the Brodsky Quartet; Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, Mendelssohn and Elgar performed by Wells Virtuosi and Tom Poster’s piano recital full of ‘radiantly beautiful pieces’. Handel’s lovely Lascia ch’io pianga will receive the Red Priest treatment, and our good friend Morgan Szymanski has planned an Homage to Segovia.
We have some bright young stars with the Young Musician of the Year 2016, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, cello, and Jess Gillam, saxophone, who provide a most exciting and contrasting evening, and also Emily Sun, the 2016 ROSL Gold Medal winner who starred when still a schoolgirl in a documentary film about the power of music in performance. Some 300 children will also discover that thrill during the week, as Wells Virtuosi from Wells Cathedral School, bring us a Symphony Concert, Perrott Hill School perform the Sir Neville Marriner Memorial Concert, and our local Beaminster Schools join together in a Choral concert led by Sammy Hurden. The wonderful Mountjoy Handbell Ringers are proud to be included in the festival and we will also see the art and photography contributions of our local students as well as being hugely entertained by the Cambridge Footlights’ 2017 Revue.
Our diverse programme includes David Starkey and Joanna Trollope in our Literary Events besides John Makepeace on Parnham; Shakespeare, Bash Street Theatre and Pop-Up Opera providing theatre and The Pasadena Roof Orchestra our big band sound; and open every day, the Visual Arts Exhibition in The Town Hall.
We have musicians from more than a dozen countries, and several performers have had to show real grit and determination to get where they are today, not least Nicholas McCarthy whose teachers scoffed at the idea of a one-handed boy becoming a concert pianist.
With Gershwin popping up in at least four programmes – ‘Who could ask for anything more?’