Would you expect the David Rees-Williams Jazz Trio or the BackBeat Percussion Quartet to be performing in Christchurch’s ancient Priory Church? Probably not, but these are just two of the musical delights included in the Priory’s week-long Music and Arts Festival which begins on 15 June.
This is the first Festival on this scale staged in the Priory. The Priory attracts nearly 100,000 visitors each year, and this is a great way of enhancing the experience. Hugh Morris, Director of Music at the Priory, was keen to embrace as many musical styles as possible so there is something for everyone to enjoy and the opportunity to try something completely different.
Other evening concerts feature the Scott Brothers, a Chethams School-educated duo who play transcriptions of classical favourites on the organ and piano (including Saint-Saens’ iconic ‘Carnival of the Animals’); the Christchurch Priory Choirs (with a selection of music they sing at services and the second performance of a newly-commissioned anthem) and on the 21 June there is a gala performance of Mendelssohn’s ‘Elijah’ given by the Bournemouth Bach Choir and Orchestra and the Highcliffe Junior Choir. On Wednesday 18 June the Alani String Quartet will be performing favourite chamber music by Mozart, Vivaldi and Dvorak at St George’s Church, Jumpers.
There are also daytime recitals. The Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus perform in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Friends of Christchurch Priory; Hugh Morris and Phil Gibbs play baroque music in the Great Quire; Michael Broadway hooks up his amazing pianola push-up machine to the Priory’s Yamaha piano; Geoffrey Morgan gives a recital of British organ music on the 4,000-pipe Nicholson organ; and the celebrated young pianist Karim Said returns to the Priory for the third time, joined by the Iris Ensemble (all young international stars) to present a varied programme of music. Stephanie Liney, a Highcliffe resident, will be playing the harp in St John’s Mission Church, Purewell, for the final daytime recital.
Schools have also been included: the Priory’s ancient walls will be decorated with artwork from the four schools in the Parish, and the Scott Brothers and BackBeat are leading music workshops.
Full details of the Festival are on the Priory’s web site http://www.christchurchpriory.org A link from this site connects to the Regent Centre, which is providing ticketing facilities for all evening performances: all daytime events are free, with a retiring collection.