2020 PROGRAMME

70% of performances are free entry!

One of the most accessible music festivals in the UK

  • Doors open 45 minutes before performances
  • Concerts at Sherborne Abbey have a 20 minute interval
  • WCs, including wheelchair access, at Sherborne Abbey
  • Venue accessibility: Please see our website for details.
  • Suitcases and rucksacks not allowed in venues
  • Photography/video during performances is not allowed

WE ARE SORRY BUT OUR 2020 FESTIVAL IS NOW CANCELLED

 

Wednesday 29th & Thursday 30th April

DINNER & OPERA AT THE PLUME

Enjoy canapés and Prosecco followed by an Italian-style 3-course menu at The Plume of Feathers, each course interspersed with glorious singing from professional opera singers. Soprano, tenor and baritone present a programme of favourite arias and ensembles from the world’s greatest operatic masterpieces.They weave a magical musical trip to exotic places and take you on a musical journey, performing popular opera highlights alongside lighter, fun and witty musical numbers. Be bowled over by Bizet, moved by Mozart and have your heart-strings pulled by Puccini as you dine in style.

The cast, whose combined stage experience ranges from the Royal Opera House and English National Opera to Glyndebourne will be accompanied by their musical director at the piano.

Tickets £60 per head (Patrons’ discounts not applicable)

PLEASE NOTE: Guests will be seated at shared tables unless booking a party for six or more. Part of the performance will be outside, so do remember to wear an extra layer (or bring your opera cloak!). Once you have purchased tickets, please advise The Plume of Feathers direct if you have any special dietary requirements. 

Friday 1st May

* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

 

Friday 1st May

1.30pm* Sherborne School Lunchtime Recital (Sherborne Abbey)

Come to hear Sherborne School’s leading musicians perform a mixture of chamber music and solos, in a forty-five minute recital in the Abbey, as a curtain-raiser for the 2020 Festival. These young musicians perform a lunchtime recital every Friday in Cheap Street Church during term-time, with this annual recital in the Abbey presenting an opportunity to showcase the very best.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Friday 1st May

3.00pm Vivaldi Four Seasons with Ruth Rogers and the Iuventus Ensemble  (The Merritt Centre, Sherborne Girls)

During this exciting concert, Ruth Rogers will perform two of the most popular pieces of Classical music ever written. The Iuventus Chamber Orchestra, led by the distinguished players of the Iuventus Quartet, will consist of some of the finest players from London. Ruth Rogers (Leader of the London Mozart Players) and Nicola Sweeney (Co-Leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra) will perform Bach’s delightful double concerto for two violins, strings and harpsichord.

Then Ruth will play Vivaldi’s iconic piece ‘The Four Seasons’ – the audience will hear birdsong, a barking dog, a summer storm with flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder, a drunken celebration, a hunt, chattering teeth and the slipping and sliding of a person trying to stay upright on ice – and it is such a joyful work full of incredible colours and effects. All this will take place in the beautiful new hall of the music school at Sherborne Girls. This is an event not to be missed!

Tickets: £22

Friday 1st May

5.15pm* Sherborne School Swing Band with I Like This One  (The Big School Room, Abbey Road)

Director:  James Henderson

The Swing Band draws a big crowd wherever it performs – whether in St George’s, Hanover Square, Highcliffe Castle, the Frank Collymore Hall in Barbados, or the Big School Room. This year’s concert takes its name from Joe Stilgoe’s song, and there’s something for everyone with music by Duke Ellington, Dizzie Gillespie, Glenn Miller and some vocal numbers in the Frank Sinatra tradition.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Friday 1st May

7.45pm The Chapel Choir of The Royal Hospital Chelsea (Sherborne Abbey)

SPONSORED BY THE EASTBURY

Organist: Benjamin Newlove | Conductor: William Vann

The Royal Hospital Chelsea, founded in 1682 by Charles II, is the home of the iconic Chelsea Pensioners, who are all retired soldiers of the British Army. The Royal Hospital’s Chapel Choir is one of the finest professional church choirs in the UK. Its members regularly sing with many of the world’s leading consort groups, such as The Sixteen, Tallis Scholars, Stile Antico and Monteverdi Choir and also work in the fields of opera, conducting, teaching and music journalism. The twelve singers are chosen not only for their skill at choral singing but also for a high standard of solo ability and general musicianship.

‘The chamber-sized Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea and their director William Vann bring the highest level of commitment to the project. Hats off to them.’ – Choir & Organ

Tickets: £25, £20, £12, £8

 

Saturday 2nd May

* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

10.00am Opera Workshop: Carmen and * Concert (The Abbey Close)

A wonderful opportunity to join four professional opera singers and their conductor to perform in a pocket version of Bizet’s masterpiece, Carmen. This inspiring and fun workshop for singers of all ages and abilities will give you the chance to join the professional singers as they lead you in staging exercises and vocal training, incorporating technique, rhythm and movement. Finally, the newly formed chorus, having learned the famous ‘Toreador’ chorus, will perform it alongside the professionals at a free, outdoor-staged ‘pocket performance’ of the opera, outside at Sherborne Abbey Close at 12.30pm.

Workshop Tickets: £10

 

Saturday 2nd May

11.00am* Sherborne School Chamber Choir: Blessed City, Heavenly Salem (Sherborne Abbey)

Director: James Henderson Organists: Peter Bray & Daniel Baker

Sherborne School Chamber Choir, which numbers many ex-cathedral choristers amongst its members, sings a selection of popular anthems from cathedral repertoire including Bairstow’s great anthem from which the concert takes its title; Parry’s Hear my words, Wood’s O thou the central orb and Morley’s Nolo mortem peccatoris. Lighter numbers from the Close Harmony group include some delightful arrangements by Paul Drayton of Cole Porter favourites.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Saturday 2nd May

12.30pm* Pocket Opera Carmen (Outside on the Abbey Close)

A unique outdoor pop-up opera experience of Bizet’s masterpiece Carmen. Performers have collectively sung at the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Dorset Opera Festival, Iford Opera and Grange Park Opera amongst others, and bring to Sherborne a passionate portrayal of Bizet’s most loved opera, performing with participants from the morning workshop. This free, outdoor-staged performance on the Sherborne Abbey Close is an event not to be missed.

Vivian Conacher (Carmen), Zita Syme (Michaela), Stephen Anthony Brown (Don Jose) and Peter Willcock (Escamillo)

PLEASE NOTE: IN THE EVENT OF INCLEMENT WEATHER THIS EVENT WILL BE STAGED INDOORS AT THE WEST END OF SHERBORNE ABBEY.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Saturday 2nd May

3.00pm* The Comptons Community Choir (Castleton Church)

The Comptons Community Choir was formed as a result of the inspiration and leadership of Penny Chappell in September 2009; so this is their eleventh season. Members, numbering fifty plus, are drawn from the two villages, Over and Nether, near Sherborne, and rehearse regularly on Monday evenings. Under the musical direction of Hugh Griffiths the choir sings an eclectic variety of songs, including madrigals, traditional folk songs and numbers from musical shows. The only criteria for joining the choir apart from living in the village is a love of, and a joy in singing.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Saturday 2nd May

4.30pm Kieran White: Rameau Solo Cantata – L’impatience (Cheap Street Church)

Kieran White and his instrumentalists invite you for a degustation of French baroque music.The plat principal will be Rameau’s cantata L’impatience, written around 1720 for tenor, an obbligato viola da gamba and continuo. The gamba part is very virtuoso, in the Italian style. This Cantata has three arias of varied characters, each preceded by a recitative (the impatient waiting, the reasoned meditation and the joy found again).

This is one of seven delightful chamber cantatas composed by Rameau and in Kieran White’s opinion they have not received the attention that they deserve. Rameau himself was believed to say that his “cantatas were an important journeyman’s exercise on the road to becoming a fully fledged opera composer.”

As an entrée the ensemble will perform another cantata, Le Triomphe de L’amour, which was written especially for the specialised haute contre voice by Montéclair. The menu will also include numerous amuses bouches, including airs de cour by Charpentier, Lambert and instrumental music for lute, harpsichord and gamba. Come along and find out what is for dessert.

Tenor/Haute contre – Kieran White Harpsichord – Stephanie Gurga Viola da gamba – Kate Conway Lute/Baroque guitar – Cédric Meyer

Tickets: £12

 

Saturday 2nd May

7.30pm Sherborne Festival Chorus: The Kingdom (Sherborne Abbey)

SPONSORED BY PORTER DODSON

Chameleon Arts Orchestra | Conductor: Paul Ellis

Following their acclaimed performance of Gerontius in 2017, a not to be missed opportunity to hear another of Elgar’s finest works performed by the Festival’s own Chorus, along with four top class soloists. Like Gerontius, The Kingdom was commissioned by the Birmingham Music Festival and first performed there in 1906. Elgar’s final oratorio, it gives a moving portrait of the lives of Jesus’s disciples following the Ascension and the life of the early Church, recounted by the chorus and four soloists: the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, St Peter and St John, all still reeling from the events of Easter.

With rich and colourful orchestral writing and a dramatic vocal style which is almost operatic in places, this magnificent work is Elgar at his most inspired. Unlike Gerontius, which had a disastrous start, it was popular from the outset and at the first rehearsal the players kept breaking into spontaneous applause. Though it is not as often performed as its predecessor, the conductor Sir Adrian Boult considered it to be Elgar’s greatest choral work – praise indeed! Sophie Bevan soprano, Frances Bourne mezzo soprano, David Webb tenor, Craig Bissex bass.

Tickets: £30, £25, £15, £10

Sunday 3rd May

* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

9.30am* Festival Eucharist: Abbey Choir (Sherborne Abbey)

11.15am* Festival Mattins (Castleton Church)

 

Sunday 3rd May

12.30pm* Sherborne Town Band (Sherborne Abbey)

Sherborne Town Band is a brass band which plays regularly in and around the community for the people of Sherborne and surrounding towns and villages. Since 1961 the band has been entertaining and also taking part in local and national competitions. The band is currently in the First Section.

In 2008 the band launched the Youth Education Scheme (YES) which now has a thriving youth band of around 30 children. The most visible engagement is when it leads the annual parade to the Remembrance Day Service in Sherborne Abbey where one of the players sounds the Last Post & Reveille bugle calls.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Sunday 3rd May

2.00-4.00pm* Children’s Workshop: ‘The Upcycled Band’ with Paul Midgley (Digby Memorial Hall, Digby Road)

Learn and play upcycled drums and other instruments in your own DIY band. Play move, and sing some original songs with fun rhymes and rhythms, led by rhythmologist, Paul Midgley. Workshops are complete with unique upcycled instruments including big blue barrel drums, colourful bike wheel drums, a hands-free folk flute and Mr Punch’s slapsticks – think ‘You can do it’ and more (may include batteries and a bit of high tech music pedals).

No experience necessary, all equipment provided, just bring some energy and a smile! For children of all ages, families welcome.

Tickets are FREE by advance booking only. Limited to 40 places

Sunday 3rd May

3.00pm* Sherborne Young Singers (Cheap Street Church)

‘The Versatility of Sherborne Young Singers’ is the title for our concert this year. It will show the two extremes of the choir, from the sacred and serious to the secular and fun. So expect a bit of both styles, with possibly a slightly greater emphasis on the fun, as our concert will conclude with the cantata Holy Moses by Chris Hazell, pure jazzy fun!

* FREE entry with plate donations

Sunday 3rd May

5.00pm* Festival Evensong with Sherborne Abbey Choir (Sherborne Abbey)

The Festival Evensong is this year sung jointly by the choristers and lay clerks of the Abbey Choir with the music scholars and ex-cathedral choristers of Sherborne School Chamber Choir. The music includes Stanford’s ‘For lo, I raise up’ and Howells St Paul’s Service, with a Te Deum by Britten and brass fanfares. The choirs are directed by James Henderson, Director of Music both of the Abbey and the School. This is a full Festal Evensong and is not to be missed!

* FREE entry with plate donations

Sunday 3rd May

7.45pm Jazz Sirens:  Jacqui Dankworth (Big School Room, Abbey Road)

SPONSORED BY THE PLUME OF FEATHERS

Given her musical pedigree – daughter of Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth – it is no surprise that Jacqui is firmly positioned as one of the UK’s foremost jazz vocalists. In this very special and intimate evening, Jacqui turns her attention to the most iconic vocalists of the Twentieth Century and the singers who defined ‘The Great American Songbook’ – including Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and Peggy Lee. Through a diverse repertoire arranged and curated by Jacqui, the concert celebrates their music of the ‘Jazz Sirens’, whose legacy and influence defined a classic era of jazz singing. Featuring classic numbers that made them international stars, alongside stylish reworkings of lesser- known gems, this is an evening of world-class music celebrating the ‘Jazz Sirens’.

‘One of our finest singers, regardless of category’ The Sunday Times

Tickets: (Shared) Tables £28 per person | Stalls & Balcony Seats £20 (A licensed bar will be available at this event)

 

 

Monday 4th May

* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

10.00am Organ Recital: David Bednall (Sherborne Abbey)

David Bednall, Sub Organist of Bristol Cathedral and critically acclaimed composer, returns to Sherborne Abbey where he was its first organ scholar. He will present an exciting and varied programme of dramatic music, including the majestic Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor by J.S. Bach, Gabriel Jackson’s glittering St Asaph Toccata, and an improvisation on themes submitted by the audience.

Tickets: £10

 

Monday 4th May

12.00pm* Wessex Strings (Cheap Street Church)

Wessex Strings invites you to enjoy some of the music from the rich repertoire for String Orchestra including works by British, European and American composers from the 17th to the 20th century. The programme will include works by Finzi, Creston, Nielsen, Mendelssohn and Corelli. They will be joined by Ana Laura Manero as piano soloist in Finzi’s Eclogue.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Monday 4th May

2.30pm  The V&K Duo (The Merritt Centre, Sherborne Girls)

Polish-Russian duo, award-winning soloists Kamila Bydlowska (violin) and Varvara Tarasova (piano), will present a diverse and exciting repertoire – from Beethoven to Gershwin. Both Royal College of Music graduates and scholarship holders, they are well known in the UK, Europe, USA and Russia. Critically acclaimed by Gramophone Magazine, they have performed on BBC Radio 3 and given recitals in the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall, Royal College of Music, National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum. They will perform the well-known classical Beethoven Pastoral Sonata No.6, together with virtuosic and extremely fiery Saint Saëns Sonata, considered one of the most difficult and technically demanding pieces written for violin/piano duo. The final treat of the performance will be a jazz-flavoured arrangement of Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess.

Tickets: £10

 

Monday 4th May

4.30pm* Gryphon School Concert (Cheap Street Church)

The Gryphon School is once again honoured to be performing at the Sherborne Abbey Music Festival. This year our Music Department will present a choral concert on the theme of ‘Songs of Sanctuary’. Our ‘Pitch-Perfect’ Choir consists of secondary school students from years seven to thirteen, ranging in age between eleven and eighteen. They rehearse once a week during term-time, performing at school concerts, carol services, and various other school and external musical events.

The Choir performs music in a variety of contrasting genres and styles arranged for SSA choir, and this concert will be no exception; items to be performed will include: ‘Pavanne’ by Ravel, ‘Adiemus’ by Jenkins, ‘Summertime’ by Gershwin, ‘Sound of Silence’ by Simon and Garfunkel, ‘Yesterday’ by McCartney, ‘Soon and Very Soon’ by Crouch, ‘Still Still Still’ by Wilberg and ‘Jalleluiah’ by Cohen.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Monday 4th May

7.30pm Kate Royal: Sherborne Festival Orchestra (Sherborne Abbey)

SPONSORED BY SIMON WINGFIELD DIGBY TRUST

Kate Royal, soprano
Thomas Hull, conductor

Ruth Rogers and Thomas Hull have formed an orchestra specially for Sherborne Abbey Festival with some of London’s finest musicians. Many of them have played for the Festival in recent years. This spellbinding programme features the internationally acclaimed soprano Kate Royal who has performed all over the world, including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Glyndebourne Festival. She will sing Britten’s ‘Les Illuminations’ – a colourful, evocative setting of poems by Arthur Rimbaud. The orchestra will also perform Haydn’s joyful Symphony No. 87 in A major and Beethoven’s magnificent Symphony No. 4 in B flat. This will be an unforgettable evening in the splendid surroundings of Sherborne Abbey.

Tickets: £30, £25, £15, £10

Tuesday 5th May

* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

11.30am* U3A Choir: Viva La Musica! (Cheap Street Church)

Sherborne U3A Choir and Madrigal Group presents a programme drawn from the sixteenth century to the present day. With items both sacred and secular, some serious and others light hearted, we hope the programme as a whole will reflect the mood of the title!

* FREE entry with plate donations

Tuesday 5th May

1.30pm* Sherborne Girls Madrigal Society (Sherborne Abbey)

The Madrigal Society, comprising twenty-six of Sherborne Girls’ senior singers, presents its characteristically varied programme in the glorious acoustic of Sherborne Abbey. Their programme covers a wide range of styles, both a cappella and accompanied, with sacred music by Henry Purcell and David Bednall complemented by the secular works of Thomas Morley and Bob Chilcott.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Tuesday 5th May

2.45pm Bath Camerata: Johannes Brahms – Ein Deutsches Requiem  (The Merritt Centre, Sherborne Girls)

Piano 4 Hands | Elizabeth Cragg, soprano | Gareth Brynmor John, baritone | Benjamin Goodson, conductor

Award-winning chamber choir Bath Camerata, under its musical director Benjamin Goodson, is delighted to be making a return visit to the Sherborne Festival for this performance. For its profound emotional and philosophical depth, and for its rich Romantic beauty, Brahms’s German Requiem is undoubtedly one of the great choral works of all time. Brahms began writing the work in 1865, just after the tragic loss of his mother, and this piece became an intensely personal, emotional reflection on grief and redemption.The choir is joined by one of the UK’s leading piano duos, Piano 4 Hands, as well as outstanding soloists, the soprano Elizabeth Cragg, and the 2013 winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Award, Gareth Brynmor John. The work will be sung in German.

Tickets: £22

Discover more about Bath Camerata

Tuesday 5th May

5.00pm* Sherborne Girls Chamber Concert (Cheap Street Church)

Sherborne Girls String Orchestra, a vibrant ensemble of advanced string players, has performed alongside the Carducci and Brodowski Quartets, participated in masterclasses and received coaching from violinists Simon Standage and Ruth Rogers, cellist Guy Johnston and Baroque specialist Ricardo Barros. The school’s talented woodwind players likewise enjoy collaborations with leading musicians, including Paul Harris, Samuel Coles and Melanie Henry. All performers play an active role throughout the year in music outreach for the community.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Tuesday 5th May

7.30pm Salvator Mundi, Mark Lockheart & Roger Sayer (Sherborne Abbey)

SPONSORED BY THE CROSS KEYS

An extraordinary and unique exploration of choral music and improvisation, Salvator Mundi is a majestic and atmospherically rich new programme from saxophonist Mark Lockheart (Loose Tubes, Polar Bear) and organist Roger Sayer (Organist of Temple Church and on Hans Zimmer’s Interstellar). Featuring interpretations of English composers including Stanford, Blow, Purcell and Tallis as well as new works by fellow collaborator John Ashton Thomas, the programme is a captivating balance of sounds, genre and musicianship at their most glorious and resonant. Lockheart’s musical intelligence imparts new life to these ancient tunes, while Sayer’s sonorous and musically open tones demonstrate the breadth of his musical palette.

Initially inspired by the beautiful acoustic of Temple Church in London, the concert will be a celebration of the English Church music tradition whilst also an exploration of how it fits within the improvising tradition of jazz. First recorded as an album, this performance will bring the music of Salvator Mundi to the wonderful space of Sherborne Abbey, making the most of the glorious acoustic and renowned organ to produce a very special concert. In the words of the performers: “It’s heavenly (whatever that means!), uplifting music that is both old and new” that aims to “convey the sweet and singing style appropriate to the voice but to allow the expression and freedom of the saxophone and improvisation”.

Tickets: £12

Wednesday 6th May

* Denotes FREE entry with plate donations

12.30pm* Leweston School Schola Cantorum: And Can It Be (Sherborne Abbey)

Leweston School’s senior choir, Schola Cantorum, and Music Scholar soloists present a miscellaneous programme of pieces showcasing new or alternative arrangements of traditional music. Featured composers include Bob Chilcott, Dan Forrest and Elaine Hagenberg.

* FREE entry with plate donations

Wednesday 6th May

4.30pm* Leweston School Ensembles: We are the Music Makers (Castleton Church)

The concert features Leweston School’s senior ensembles, including their Baroque Ensemble, Flute Group, Recorder Consort and Jazz Band. The programme comprises a wide range of repertoire from the past 400 years.

*  FREE entry with plate donations

Wednesday 6th May | Closing Event

7.00pm Soirée with Gabrielle Ducomble (The Cross Keys)

We close the Festival with a Soirée at the historic Cross Keys Inn on Sherborne’s Parade, which re-opened under its new French owner Mo Gherras in 2019. Guests will enjoy Kir Royale and canapés on arrival, then a 3-course French-style menu to include Hors D’Oeuvres, Coq au Vin, Stuffed Aubergine Provençal (v), Crème Brûlée and more.

Gabrielle Ducomble and her Parisian Jazz & Tango music has become an established, original talent on the UK jazz music scene. She will be supported by Nicolas Meier (guitar), Richard Jones (violin) and Ben Hazleton (double bass). Gabrielle, singing in both French and English, will perform well established favourites from Piaf and Aznavour to Piazzolla and more from her recent applauded new album Across The Bridge. She regularly performs at London’s Crazy Coqs and the Mayfair Lansdowne Club and starred in the 2019 Jazz Divas Series.

Tickets: £55 per head (Patrons’ discounts do not apply)

PLEASE NOTE: Guests will be seated at shared tables unless booking a party for six or more. Once you have purchased tickets, please advise The Cross Keys direct if you have any special dietary requirements. You will find more information, including the menu, online at www.sherborneabbeyfestival.org

 

Sherborne Abbey Festival reserves the right to change the programme without further notice

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