St Mary & St Giles Church has hosted a concert a day for the final 3 days of StonyLive 2010. On Friday evening the Parish Singers had a night off rehearsing so that Valerie Kirby-Ashmore and Geoffrey Allan Taylor could play a viola and piano concert which was themed around "building with the B's" - inspired by the building of the new church hall. Geoffrey is a very local composer and musician (he was born and lives in Stony Stratford) and has played in our church before, and Valerie has strong local connections too.  Both are very accomplished musicians and it was a lovely concert.

Their programme was:

  • William Byrd:  Hugh Ashton's Grounde (piano)
  • Frank Bridge: Serenade (1903) (piano and viola)
  • Benjamin Britten: Waltz no 5 (piano)
  • Lennox Berkeley: Sonata in D minor Op 22 (viola and piano)
  • Geoffrey Allan Taylor: Eleanor's Lullaby (1975) (piano)
  • Geoffrey Allan Taylor: 'Humour' from Emotionalia (viola and piano) - first performance
  • Interval
  • JS Bach: Sonata in D major for viola da gamba and keyboard BWV 1028 (viola and piano)
  • Frank Bridge: Rosemary (piano)
  • Geoffrey Allan Taylor: Cavatina for viola and piano (1980, version of 1998)
  • Richard Rodney Bennett: A week of birthdays (piano)
  • Rebecca Clarke: Passacaglia on an Old English Tune (viola and piano)
  • followed by a sublime piece on viola and piano as an encore

There were 26 people in the audience which resulted in a total of £119.20 being donated (£23 was gift aided to the organ fund, the remainder was for the church restoration fund).

On Saturday at 6.00 pm MK Chorale gave their annual Summer Concert in the church.  Last year they had hired a grand piano and brought it into the church, this year our new baby grand was available, but they had decided to use organ, percussion and harp instead of piano for their repetoire, because they were singing Bernstein's 'Chichester Psalms'.  However as they know that our Willis organ is increasingly unreliable, they hired an Allan electronic organ rather than risk the Willis.  As it happens, this was providential because the organ concole wiring has given real difficulties during the past couple of weeks in particular and Andrew has spent time finding the faults and making some temporary fixes, pending the complete replacement of the console electrics which are nearly 80 years old.   MK Chorale make a donation from the proceeds of the concert to the church restoration fund, however refreshments served during the concert raised £147.30 towards paying off the baby grand piano fund (now paid £3,661.76 ie 67% of the total).  As mentioned in previous posts, the piano is helping with fundraising for both the organ and the church restoration funds, and paying off the interest free loan as soon as possible is important to the organ fund committee.

The MK Chorale programme was:

  • Los Janacek: Otcenas (The Lord's Prayer) (sung in Czech, tenor soloist Stuart Jackson, Ian Clarke - organ
  • Benjamin Britten: Interlude, There is no Rose, As Dew in Aprille, Spring Carol, Adam lay ybounden from 'Ceremony of Carols' (the least Christmassy ones!) with solo harpist Vicky Lester, and Ian Clarke
  • Benjamin Britten: Suite for Harp Op 83 (2 movements) - Vicky Lester
  • Britten: Jubilate Deo in C (sung faster than the OU Choir did it in April)
  • Interval
  • William Mathias: Profcessional Op 96 - organ solo by Ian Clarke
  • Herbert Howells: Psalm Prelude Set 1 no 1 - organ solo by Ian Clarke
  • Howard Goodall: Jubilate Deo - choir and organ
  • Leonard Bernstein: Chichester Psalms - soprano soloist Carys Miller, with organ, harp and percussion (Matthew Turner)

It was a very good concert with a lot of people in the audience (though the church wasn't full - maybe the England vs USA match had something to do with this!).

On Sunday afternoon we had Cream Teas for sale in the church from 4.00 pm - 6.00 pm.  This deliberately co-incided with 'Folk on the Green' - the annual outdoor event on Horsefair Green which marks the end of StonyLive.  We knew that with lots of people in Stony we'd pick up some passing trade, though David repeated what he did for the August bank holiday Summer fair by going around the green with a sample cream tea and a big sign advertising the refreshments, and was pleased to subsequently see some of those he spoke to turn up at the church.  Although rain showers were threatened, during the afternoon the weather was good enough for us to have tables and chairs outside on the grass which was an added draw.

We followed the cream teas with Andrew Storer's organ recital.  Both Sunday events were for the church restoration fund - as Andrew pointed out to the audience, restoring the organ is very important, but keeping the building in good shape is essential for the parish and the organ.  Andrew had little time to practice this week, as he was busy fixing the electrical faults, and chose his music on the day of the concert based on what the organ was likely to allow him to play without hitting problems (despite this he played well).  He also invited young Jacob to play a guest piece.

Andrew's programme was:

  • John Stanley: Voluntary in D
  • William Boyce: Voluntary in D minor
  • JS Bach: Chorale Prelude 'O Mensch Bewein'
  • Samuel Barber: Adagio for Strings
  • Jacob's guest piece - William Lloyd-Webber: Vesper Hymn
  • John James: Voluntary in A minor
  • Karg-Elert: O my soul rejoice with gladness
  • Edward Elgar: Nimrod from Enigma Variations
  • Albinoni: Adagio
  • Herbert Howells: Psalm Prelude Set 1 no 1
  • Dietrich Buxtehude: Prelude and Fugue in D minor

Andrew deliberately chose to play the Howells piece which had been played the previous evening to show the difference in sound quality between a top of the range electronic organ and our Willis pipe organ, and emphasized that this clearly shows the importance of restoring the pipe organ for worship, educational purposes and concerts - the sound is superior in so many ways.

The cream teas and recital raised a total of £346.81 for the church restoration fund.

Lots of people were involved in helping to run the various concerts in the church during StonyLive.  It has been a successful week for the church restoration fund in particular, though the organ fund and piano repayment have also benefitted.  We've welcomed many people into the church for a feast of music making, some involving the organ and the piano.