StonyLive – SMSG Handbells and Band concerts

June 14, 2015
SMSG church handbell ringers

SMSG church handbell ringers

The sunny summer weather was perfect for two early evening concerts in the StonyLive! Programme in SMSG Church. At 6.30pm on Wednesday 10th June our Church Handbell Ringers gathered to ring a selection of their favourite tunes and to show the versatility of the the handbells (and their ringers!). They ranged from the hymn, ‘How great thou art’ to the energetic ‘Can Can’ and from the calypso-style ‘Mango Walk’ to the poignant ‘Largo’ from Dvorak’s New World Symphony. The audience hummed along and were very supportive, many staying to enjoy some refreshments and the SMSG Church Band concert which followed at 7.30pm.

Seriously ringing handbells

Seriously ringing handbells

The Band concert’s theme was songs from the 1940s and encouraged audience participation – we were not disappointed – there was excellent singing! Beginning with ‘Colonel Bogey March’ we enjoyed a ‘Sentimental Journey’ by packing up our troubles in our old kit bag and taking the Chattanooga Choo Choo to Berkeley Square. Television and film tunes were interspersed with a lovely flute and piano duet by Alison and Dave, playing the favourite ‘Danny Boy’ and Anna, Fiona and Sally treated us to two short flute trios. The evening was rounded off with ‘The Dam Busters’ by Eric Coates. Many thanks to all who rang and played and served refreshments and to the lovely audience whose donations of £75.58 will go towards a disabled access at the west door of our church.

SMSG church band

SMSG church band

SMSG church band

SMSG church band

by Lesley Salter, photos Anna Page

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Cream Teas and Millbrook Trio

June 14, 2015

Glorious warm sunshine welcomed many people to Stony Stratford on Sunday 7th June – several events took place that day (the Classic Car rally in Market Square, the Big lunch with the Dakota flypast) and we timed Cream Teas and concert to coincide with both to pick up those who had attended either event and wanted some more refreshment as they made they way around the cars and watched the flypast.

Cream Teas in the sunshine

Cream Teas in the sunshine

As the weather was so good we had tables and chairs on the church lawn alongside the parish hall and a steady steam of people throughout the afternoon were served by Fiona, Nina, Anna, Margaret, Dai, Lesley, Sue and Dave, while the Millbrook ensemble tested the acoustic during their rehearsal in the church before they joined everyone in the hall for Cream Teas.

Three of the four members of the Millbrook Ensemble played for us: Charlotte Brennand on Piano, Louise Fuller on Violin and Rosalind Gladstone on Cello.

Louise, Charlotte and Rosalind

Louise, Charlotte and Rosalind

The concert at 4:30 pm was a lovely highlight of the weekend and a great way to finish the afternoon, the programme was:

  • Mozart Divertimento – Piano Trio in Bb K254 (Charlotte, Louise and Rosalind)
  • Franck Sonata for Violin and Piano in A (Louise and Charlotte)
  • Mendelssohn Piano Trio in D minor Op. 49 (Charlotte, Louise and Rosalind)

David was page turner for Louise (after doing this the previous evening at the Polymnia concert for Anna Le Hair).  Afterwards Louise sent us the following comment:

“Thank you for your brilliant organisation. The church was an excellent venue – a lovely place to play.”

We raised a total of £489.30 from this combined event for the organ casework.  Thank you to everyone who baked the multitude of scones, helped set up, serve refreshments and tidied up afterwards and a big special thank you to Louise, Charlotte and Rosalind for their wonderful music, which was the second event at the church as part of the annual StonyLive festival.

You can see photos of the Cream Teas and concert at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78058413@N06/sets/72157654503458546


Third Thursday Concert – 16th April 2015

April 16, 2015

Hilary O’Donoghue’s students starred in this concert and they certainly illuminated it, alongside the talented Andante Quartet. The audience glimpsed a world of love – for our countryside, home, life, people and God – during this forty-five minutes of varied and moving songs.

Bill Ridsdale opened the programme with a strong performance of Vaughan Williams’ ‘Whither must I wander’, a reflective piece contemplating loss and hope. ‘As Time Goes By’ introduced the universal theme of love with its pain and happiness.

Lucy Clark, from Lord Grey School, followed this with ‘Hushabye Mountain’, her lilting voice perfectly suiting this lullaby piece. In the challenging ‘Songbird’ by Eva Cassidy, she skilfully captured its sense of heartfelt love and longing. The Andante Quartet changed the tempo with a calypso style version of ‘Sloop John B’ and a great rendition of the staunch favourite – Any Dream Will Do’, wonderfully accompanied by pianist Ros Whatmore.

Lucy - Songbird

Lucy – Songbird

We were then treated to Christine Salmon’s performance of Schubert’s ‘Wiegenlied’, a pleasant and engaging song, and ‘Something Wonderful’, where the depth of emotion was strongly conveyed.   Claire Folkes, from Walton High, sang the beautiful aria ‘Voi Che Sapete’ from ‘The Marriage of Figaro’, captivating the audience as she smoothly and serenely negotiated the complex range and diversity of Mozart’s music. She followed this with the contrasting ‘Where Is Love?’ from ‘Oliver’, again showing mastery over the emotional range.

Christine - Something Wonderful

Christine – Something Wonderful

Claire - Where is Love

Claire – Where is Love

Gabriella Policino, also from Walton High, entranced us all with ‘On My Own’ from ‘Les Miserables’ – such a powerful and commanding performance of this lovely song. Was there a dry eye in the house at the end? ‘Not That Girl’ was Gabriella’s next choice and again her ability to convey deep seated emotion was revealed. What strengths in singing these young people showed us.

Gabriella - Les Mis

Gabriella – Les Mis

Tallis’ ‘If Ye Love Me’ and Tchaikovsky’s ‘Crown of Roses’ from the Quartet almost brought the concert to a close; but the actual finale was remarkable in its poignancy, clarity and sense of hope. All the singers performed Howard Goodall’s moving piece ‘I believe in the Sun’, first performed for National Holocaust Memorial Day. Truly a thought provoking lunchtime concert with exceptional talent.

The Andante Quartet

The Andante Quartet

The retiring collection raised £60.35 towards the organ casework.  Thank you to all the performers, helpers and the audience.

by Andrea Hearne, photos by Richard Hearne


MK Music Co-operative first anniversary concert

March 29, 2015
Quintessential Brass open the concert

Quintessential Brass open the concert

Last year we were delighted to host the MK Music Co-operative’s launch concert at SMSG church and were very pleased when they donated a substantial part of what they raised to the organ fund. They clearly like the acoustic of our lovely church as they booked their first anniversary concert for 21 March 2015, which turned out to be another wonderful evening of music making by some of the Music co-operative teachers and a few of their pupils. These concerts are primarily a way of giving the teachers an opportunity to perform as all their other concerts are pupil concerts, however they invited some of their higher grade pupils to provide some of the music too.

The programme:

Quintessential Brass (Mark Green, Anna Hailes, Kate Knight, Cathi Smith, Malcolm Nevin)

  • La Mourisque – Susato arr Iveson
  • Sweet Dreams – Francis Clifford

Jenny Newman and Andy Glass (Violin and Guitar)

  • A selection of traditional fiddle (and guitar) tunes

Anna Gash and Michael Keep (Cello and Piano)

  • Cello sonata No 1 in E minor Op 38 (1st Movt) – Brahms

Dominic Hindley (pupil) (Clarinet)

  • Clarinet Concerto, 3rd Movt – Mozart

Emily Knell (pupil) (Piano)

  • Nocturne in E minor, Op 72 No 1 – Chopin

Alexandra Nash (Violin)

  • Theme from Ladies in Lavender – Nigel Hess

Frankie Hindley (pupil) (Flute)

  • La Calinda – Delius

Green and Glass (Vocal and Guitar)

  • How Sweet it is
  • Dancing in the Streets

Interval

Alexandra Stacey (and friends – Vocal, Cello, Keyboard)

  • Why soe pall and wan, fond lover – Lawes
  • Fairest Isle from his opera King Arthur – Purcell
  • Bois Epais from the opera Amadis – Lully

Conway Moore (Guitar)

  • Variations on a Theme from Mozart’s Magic Flute, by Fernando Sor (Guitar)

Clare Morris-Keep (vocal)

  • Quanta Qualia – Patrick Hawes
  • Laudate Dominum – Mozart

Madeleine Hamilton (Pupil) (Cello)

  • Adagio, Cello Concerto no 1 in C major – Haydn

Julian Pentz (and friend) (violin and guitar)

  • Bulgarian Drinking song – arranged by Togmor
  • Gamlingay – Togmor

Michael Keep (piano)

  • Prelude and Fugue in A major, Book 2 – Bach

Gemma Shirley (vocal)

  • Porgi, Amor from The Marriage of Figaro – Mozart
  • Fair Robin I love from Tartuffe – Kirke Mechem

Quintessential Brass

  • Galliard Battaglia – Scheidt arr Jones
  • I love Paris – Porter arr Hailes

This was definitely an evening of variety and outstanding quality of performance. About 90 people attended and MK Music Co-operative was able to donate £150 to the Willis organ fund. Several of the teachers said to me afterwards that they look forward to next year’s concert when they hope to include the restored Willis organ in the concert programme.

More photos can be viewed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78058413@N06/sets/72157649308571553/


Fair Trade fortnight and MK Food Bank concert

March 8, 2015

The rain did not dampen the spirits of those who gathered on Sunday afternoon for the Fair Trade and Food Bank Concert. SMSG Band and Handbells played a variety of old favourites, new tunes and food related songs to raise money for Traid Craft and received donations for MK Food Bank. The Food Bank basket was filled and donations of £82.75 will be send to Traid Craft which will be match funded by the Government.

We were delighted to welcome a couple from Birmingham who happened to be visiting Stony Stratford this weekend, some Handbell Ringers from Camp Hill and children who had come for the first time to a live concert and joined in with some percussion.

Thanks once again to all who played, rang and helped in any way – a celebratory end to Fair Trade Fortnight.

by Lesley Salter, photos by Kieran Salter and Anna Page

Handbell ringers concentrating

Handbell ringers concentrating

SMSG church handbell ringers

SMSG church handbell ringers

Flute trio - Alison, Sally, Anna

Flute trio – Alison, Sally, Anna

the band watch the handbells

the band watch the handbells

SMSG church band

SMSG church band

SMSG church band with Dave

SMSG church band with Dave

The bulging basket of MK Food Bank donations

The bulging basket of MK Food Bank donations

 

 


Third Thursday Concert 18 February 2015

February 22, 2015

Kirsty Morris Selley and James McCafferty were the musicians for the sixth lunchtime concert and they brought an eclectic mix of musical styles. James explained that they both have Celtic backgrounds to some degree and both Irish and Scottish songs would be played.

Kirsty sang Erroll Garner’s ‘Misty’ to open the performance, the gentle harmony creating a sense of serenity. This was followed by James’s version of ‘The Fields of Athenry’, a haunting tale of the Irish Famine. The lyrics explain, ‘We had dreams and songs to sing’ which really sums up the atmosphere of both the song and the performers. ‘The Water is Wide’ added to this poignancy, the Seventeenth Century lyrics still very meaningful today.

The Celtic influence continued with ‘The Shores of Avalon’, its sense of refuge, homecoming and peace accentuated by the performers’ voices. We then floated into Kirsty’s soulful rendition of ‘Summertime’, a world away from the dank February gloom of Stony Stratford. Even the church decorators were painting in time to this sultry tune!

‘Said Judas to Mary’ and ‘Down in Yon Forest’ presented two viewpoints with a single belief: ‘And I love my Lord Jesus above anything’. Both of these songs showed such sincerity in such simple narratives.   The concert concluded with a favourite, ‘Greensleeves’ and ‘The Dark Island’. Again, a wonderful lunchtime interlude, with Dai Evans as compere to an appreciative audience.

by Andrea Hearne, photos by Richard Hearne

James ready to play

James ready to play

Kirsty at the piano

Kirsty at the piano


Piano & Vocal Treats

January 17, 2015

Despite a very cold January morning – with thermometers showing a meagre 1 degree, and frost on roof tiles – we welcomed an audience of about 20 at the first Musical Bite coffee morning of the year. Music was performed by three of Kirsty Morris Selley’s students. Unfortunately, Kirsty was unable to join in but we listened to James McCafferty, Simran Lakhan and Helen Worthington.

James played a selection of folk songs including O Come, O come Emmanuel, Carol of the Chimes, Judas and Mary and The Boar’s Head Carol. James invited us to join in some of the choruses. I, for one, certainly did!

Simran played on the grand piano the following: Wiosna by Chopin, Allemande in A minor by Handel and Kavaleriiskaya by Kabelevsky.

Helen sang several well known and much loved songs including O Holy Night, Jolene, At Last and Misty.

We were treated to a splendid array of tasty refreshments served by Marian, Fiona and Jean. Many thanks to Sue, Lesley, Fiona and everyone who made cakes. Also thanks to the splendid team of helpers: Jeff, Dave and Anna. The Musical Bite raised exactly £71 for the organ restoration fund.

by David Scrutton, photos by Anna Page

James sings folk carols

James sings folk carols

Simran at the piano

Simran at the piano

James and the Boar Head carol

James and the Boar Head carol

Helen sings

Helen sings

Listening to Helen

Listening to Helen