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Concerts

Our concerts are scripted - the readings, drawn from contemporary diaries and newspapers, fictional and literary sources, including humorous anecdotes, describe the historical and social context of the music as well as introducing the musical items. Each concert is designed around a theme such as a facet of Georgian social life, or an important historical character. The following topics have featured in past concerts.

Themes

harvest wagonThe Changing Scenes of Life
West Gallery music related to the seasons of the year (Easter, Harvest, and Christmas) and to the major events in people's lives such as weddings and funerals - and not forgetting wife selling!

 

Market sceneFrom May-day to Michaelmas
This programme focuses more on the folk customs and notable events which took place between Spring and Autumn during the Georgian period. There is more about markets and fairs, strange wagers, performing animals, and the trials of love, including wife-selling (again!) and bigamy.

 

A Country Living
The role of the country parson, the parish clerk, and the church choir in Georgian village life are explored, including the problems caused by absentee clergy and poorly paid curates, and villagers deserting to the new dissenting chapels. You'll also hear about markets and fairs, tithe feasts, fox hunting, and smuggling in this programme.

 

stage coachTravelling in Hope
Kent in the Georgian era seen through the eyes of travellers and tourists: John Wesley, William Cobbett, Robert Southey, Karl Moritz and others. Travelling with its delights and problems, on horse and by stagecoach, from London through Gravesend, the Medway towns (including a visit to Chatham dockyard), Maidstone, Canterbury, Dover, the Weald, and Tunbridge Wells.

 

1814 celebrations1814 - The Year of Reverly
Napoleon abdicated in 1814 and was exiled to the Isle of Elba so everyone thought the war was over! We know now that Napoleon escaped and the war resumed the following year, and he was finally defeated at Waterloo - but that's another story. 1814 was also the centenary of the Hanoverian monarchy so all manner of celebrations took place.

 

Carol singers'Going the Rounds'
Our Christmas concerts are based on the exploits of the Melstock Choir in Thomas Hardy's novel 'Under the Greenwood Tree' and include readings from that book and from Hardy's poetry. The carols are mostly from the West Country carolling tradition, several specifically named in the novel and found in the Hardy family music manuscript books.

A CD was produced from this programme - more details HERE.


People

George IIIThe Year of Jubilee - Fifty Years of the reign of George III (1760-1810).
George had a long and most eventful life, reigning (mostly sanely) for 50 years. Often Britain was at war with France and, to his great sorrow, we lost our American Colonies. His struggle with encroaching madness led to the regency and the scandals surrounding his profligate son, later George IV. All these feature in this programme - but the quire stay relatively sane!

 

Raise your Triumphant Song - The Life and Times of Thomas Clark of Canterbury (1775-1859)
St.Peter's CanterburyClark was a shoemaker and prolific composer of sacred music for church and chapel choirs. He and his father were key figures in the music of the Methodist church in Canterbury and lived through major changes, both locally in the city, and nationally through major wars when Canterbury was a military centre.

A CD was produced from this programme - more details HERE.

 

Horatio NelsonEngland Expects - The Life and Times of Horatio Nelson (1758 -1805)
From quite humble origins as a vicar's son in Nofolk, he joined his first ship at Chatham and quickly showed aptitude as a leader. After several brilliant and daring naval victories, he achieved the status of a national hero, although not without a little scandal on the way in the form of Emma Hamilton.

 

John WesleyHark, the Glad Sound - The Life and Times of John Wesley (1703-1791)
A parson's son from North Lincolnshire, after an Oxford University education, and a brief chaplaincy in our colony in Georgia, he devoted his life to itinerant preaching in collabration with brother Charles, George Whitfield, and Edward Perronet, and established the Methodist connection, although remained an Anglican until his death.


You can download a publicity flyer from HERE

Georgian Churches
What were eighteenth century churches like inside? - before the Victorians "improved" them!
St.Peter's Methodist Church Who was Thomas Clark?
The Canterbury shoemaker who was the most prolific composer of West Gallery Music.
Golden Harp ms Researching the Music
Finding music and discovering how churches paid for their quires.