Dore Abbey music festival

PUBLISHED: 10:57 21 June 2012 | UPDATED: 21:31 20 February 2013

Dore Abbey music festival

Dore Abbey music festival

Monica Darnbrough looks forward to the annual celebration of the Arts

When Pauul Spicer first stepped into Dore Abbey the atmosphere of this special place enveloped him. Paul, who is a conductor and composer, had been invited by Richard Denyer to give a one-day choral workshop. He has now done so successfully for 12 years and, since 2007 has organised a whole week of singing and arts in the abbey. He was helped to realise his dream by Chris Morgan (chairman of the Friends of Dore Abbey), Isabelle George, and the churchwardens who take such care of the building.

Paul says: The abbey has lived up to its promise as it affects everyone who comes to it through the wonderfully different moods at different times of year, but always its peace and tranquility, its ancient beauty; the sheer fact of its survival against seemingly insuperable odds.

Festival week brings together singers and players amateurs and professionals whose music-making has added to the rhythm of the church life in Dore Abbey. The English Choral Experience (ECE) perform music by British composers and, as well as a large choir, a dozen artists and craftspeople exhibit and sell works. This year will be as varied as ever. Artist-in-residence, Sheila Bryant, will spend the week working in the abbey and there will be three other artists work, textiles, photographs, pottery, glass works and metal sculptures in the exhibition.

Last year, (and we hope this year), a group of singers sang the ancient Office of Compline each evening around 10pm. In the candle-lit, shadow-filled, abbey, simple chanting and an anthem sent the congregation quietly away with thoughts of peace and of Gods protection.

The singers from all over the UK and overseas become part of the audience each evening to listen to concerts given by professional singers and instrumentalists and these concerts are open to the public. This year the English Choral Experience will be in Dore Abbey from Sunday evening, July 22 (when the art and crafts exhibition will open at 5.30pm) culminating in the choirs concert performance of Vaughan Williams Sea symphony (with piano accompaniment) on Saturday, July 28 at 7.30pm. Visitors are welcome throughout each day to look at the exhibitions, to listen to the choir and conductors at work, and to evening events: on Monday, July 23 at 9pm, a talk on the Cistercian Tradition by Esther de Waal and on Thursday, July 26, 9pm, a violin and piano recital by Rupert Luck and Matthew Rickard, including Howellss second violin sonata. On Friday 27th, the concert will be at the earlier time of 6.15pm (because of the Olympics) and will be a recital of English songs given by Claire Seaton (soprano), Philip Lancaster (baritone) and Mark Opstad (piano). n

Full details can be found on the English Choral Experience website

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