On February 10th Graham Trew gave a masterclass at St John’s School, Leatherhead in line with the rules of the Catherine Lambert Junior Recital Prize, as that is the school where the 2009 winner of the competition, Thomas Payne, studies. Thomas performed ‘Silent Noon’ and other boys and girls sang works by Finzi, Stradella, Durante, Weill and Coates. Singing is extremely highly valued at Leatherhead where there are very experienced singing staff and a most supportive Director of Music. Graham stayed on in the evening to judge the School Singing Competition at which he heard many performers with considerable potential.
Budworth Hall, Ongar at 3.00pm.
On Sunday February 7th the AESS presented ‘A Celebration of Armstrong Gibbs’ in association with the Armstrong Gibbs Society and the Lea Valley Branch of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. The Association was grateful that the event was sponsored by Printclaim/Brumwell Ltd. The concert was held in the Budworth Hall in Ongar as Armstrong Gibbs spent most of his life in Essex. He was particularly attuned to the poetry of Walter de la Mare and many of that poet’s verses were recited during the concert. Members of the Walter de la Mare Society were present, including the poet’s grandson Giles with his wife Ursula and Armstrong Gibbs’s daughter Ann and her husband Lyndon also attended. All performers gave their services to aid the work of the AESS. Songs were sung by Margaret Cadney, Stephen Miles, Penny Manser, David Kirby Ashmore, Georgia Kemp, Melanie Mehta, Graham Trew and Mark Wilde. They were accompanied by Michael Pilkington, Patricia Williams, Oliver Davies, Clive Pollard and Carolyn Richards. Poetry came from Marian Lines, Betty Roe, Patricia Williams and Ione Chadwick and the afternoon was concluded most successfully by the girls of the Milton Keynes Youth Chorale, directed by David Kirby Ashmore, with soloists Jenny Evans and Elizabeth Vincent. Michael Pilkington talked about Armstrong Gibbs and read from Ro Hancock-Child’s biography, as she was unfortunately prevented from attending, as indeed was Angela Aries from the Armstrong Gibbs Society. Her introductory words about the composer were read by the Chairman of the Armstrong Gibbs Society, Christopher Kingsley.
The event drew a large audience and it was a most happy occasion. The whole project was devised and organised by Patricia Williams who deserves tremendous credit for her unstinting work on behalf of the AESS.