Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra Open Doors

The Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra has organised a series of free classical music events entitled ‘Open Doors’ which has something for everyone. The orchestra’s survival through Covid and its ability to perform for free owes much to the generosity of its sponsors, Fairlight Arts Trust and Penn Elcom, with further funding from the Lottery and the approval of the Arts Council.

Live classical music was endangered by the length of Covid lockdowns, but the Orchestra is pleased to be able to contemplate a full new 2021/22 Season with confidence, of which more details will be available soon. Meanwhile, try and take in one or more of these free events and show your support for live classical music in Hastings by joining the HPO mailing list to be kept informed of future events:

HPO String Quartet – Wednesday 14 July, 2pm at Priory Meadow, Queens Road, Hastings TN34 1PH. HPO’s princial string players offer this exciting, free of charge summer highlight – an opportunity for you to listen to their wonderful rendition of two chamber music gems: Haydn’s Emperor Quartet, and Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.

Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers) Thursday 15 July, 8pm, in
Christchurch, Silchester Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6AY. Sung by HPO Singers and Cantemus Choir conducted by Marcio da Silva, running time 75 minutes including interval. Free performance.

HPO Songbirds inaugural concert Friday 16 July, 7pm at Christchurch. Children aged 5–11 perform their first brilliant repertoire!

Masterclass and Workshop Day. Saturday 17 July, from 11am, with an informal student performance at 3:15pm. Principal HPO players will host East Sussex Music Students, working at approximately Grade 5 and above, and invite them to play their current repertoire at Christchurch.

HPO Wind Quintet. Saturday 17 July 7:00pm at Christchurch. This includes the world premiere of a work by local composer Keith Beal; some people may remember his opera Merlin shown at St Mary in the Castle in 2018.

Concert in the Park Saturday 14 August, 3pm, at the bandstand in Alexandra Park, Hastings TN34 2LQ. A glorious celebration of short, well-known and greatly loved pieces of classical music, perfect for a family picnic!

This ‘outdoor’ concert is guaranteed to be a family favourite with something for everyone to enjoy!

Christopher Cormack

Dr Brian Hick BA(Hons) MA PHD

Brian sadly died on 30th May 2021. It is difficult to summarise such a full and active life as his. Here is a little about him.

Brian was born in Shrewsbury in 1945, but the family soon moved to Fulham where he lived until he married Sally in 1966 and went to live in Camden Town. Then he was working in the BBC Music Department near Broadcasting House, and soon after starting with the BBC commenced an Hons English Degree at Birkbeck College which led to post-graduate training as a Director at The Drama Centre. He worked briefly in the theatre and then moved to Redhill and taught drama. He says, “The two essential professional strands of my lengthy career evolve at this point. In Education I taught drama and English, while running numerous drama and music groups. I ran the local Arts Festival and was invited to write as arts correspondent for the Surrey Mirror”.

In 1980 the family moved to Hastings. Brian held a number of senior educational posts, while becoming increasingly involved working with Special Education Needs Students – a field only just opening up in its own right. After work based in particular schools he started a long association with Russell Education Trust as their Senior Special Needs Consultant, travelling widely, covering schools across the South of England and into South Wales.

In Hastings he met up with Denby Richards, Editor of the oldest international music magazine Musical Opinion. He started to write regularly for the magazine and was soon acting as Deputy Editor. In 1992 he was invited to become Editor of The Organ which he happily took on – significantly updating and broadening the scope of the publication. He remained Editor for 15 years and then became Editor Emeritus.

With a local group of interested musicians, led by Denby Richards, he helped run the early St Leonards Arts Festival. He was invited to become a member of the Critics Circle – “I had waited many years for this and it was a real honour as they invite you, and you have no idea who has proposed you”.

He was involved in Glyndbourne’s community Opera on the Pier and was also invited to direct and conduct with different local groups on a fairly regular basis. This included working with BLODS in Bexhill and directing the world premiere of Kenneth Roberts Quel weekend for Hastings Opera (now Opera SouthEast). He directed a number of plays for the Stables Theatre, and formed a small company to set up an open-air summer theatre at Batemans.

He has written intermittently for Hastings Observer over the years and recently, during the time of Covid wrote a weekly column which was well read and appreciated by many. In it he talked about the frustrations and difficulties for musicians but also some of the pleasures and creativity to be found online. He also featured many reminiscences of past musical experiences.

He founded Lark Reviews website in 2012. It has grown to be well used as a source of information and a promotional tool by individuals and groups with the more local 1066 sections as well as covering a diverse range of musical activity in other parts of the country   and now also online. CD and occasional DVD reviews also appear regularly with releases from many of the major producers as well as some produced on a smaller scale.

Brian wrote and published a number of books – including the detailed rebuilding of the 1763 Hastings Snetzler organ, a three volume survey of all the Organs of 1066 Country, and the biography of Edward Wyon, architect and poet who built and designed St John’s Hollington. There is also a range of personal publications A Lark on …..which are essentially autobiographical poems. He had a number of poems featured in Wild Goose Publications from the Iona Community.

He was involved in a number of organisations, musical and otherwise. He was for a number of years a trustee of the Seaview Project, working with homeless and other vulnerable people in St Leonards. Brian would often speak to other organisations about the work of Seaview. He was more recently invited to become a trustee of the newly organised Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra. Locally he was a particular champion of the Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Hastings Sinfonia and the Opus Theatre. He was also connected with Garsington Opera, English National Opera and the Oxford Lieder Festival.

He championed the restoration of the Snetzler organ in Hastings Unitarian church and was very supportive of young organists beginning a professional career. One of these, Tom Bell, now a successful concert organist and teacher for the Royal College of Organists writes this,

Brian was a lovely man with a refreshingly broad interest in and love of music. I first met him in connection with a recital I was awarded as a teenager, in the 1999 Three Choirs Festival (in Worcester). Five young organists were invited to give recitals during the festival, following a Royal College of Organists event earlier that year. Brian featured all five performers, and some reflections on their programmes, in The Organ. This was wonderfully kind, encouraging, and the reviews themselves were pitched just right given the age of the performers. Since that time my meetings with Brian have usually been in connection with recitals at All Saints Hastings, where I have played several times. It was also a very great pleasure to perform at Hastings Unitarian Chapel at Brian’s behest, both before and after the little Snetzler organ there was restored. Brian invited me to give those concerts when I was a student and it was a real thrill to reopen a restored historic organ. I am grateful to Brian for that opportunity and for plenty of other encouragement over the years.

We send our love to Sally and the family at this time and are thankful for Brian and his many legacies.

 

ALL SAINTS CHURCH HASTINGS – 1878 FATHER WILLIS ORGAN

The 32nd series of these popular organ concerts begin on 5th July at All Saints Church in Hastings Old Town. Many distinguishged organists have taken part in these concerts over the years and have said how much they enjoy playing this particular instrument, tonally unchanged since its construction almost 150 years ago. As with previous years there is an impressive lineup of cathedral, church and concert organists.

Concerts take place on Monday evenings until the final concert, which as with the first in this year’s programme will be given by series favourite Gordon Stewart.

All concerts begin at 7.30pm

Further information available from
Malcolm Lock – Mobile: 0780 106 8156

The Hastings Sinfonia

The Hastings Sinfonia will be celebrating 10 years of a very successful and uninterrupted existence next year. This exciting orchestra is well known for its strong commitment to the community as well as for its accessible concerts with popular music both old and new being performed.

The friendly orchestra, founded includes in its ranks both professional and good standard amateur players is now looking to include even more members to join them – as well as with guest soloists!

Having prepared well to avoid any risks caused by the covid pandemic, the Hastings Sinfonia is restarting rehearsals every Wednesday evenings at St John’s in Pevensey Road.

The Hastings Sinfonia was founded in 2012 by local composer Polo Piatti who remains as its Artistic Director and has been conducted for most of its existence by London maestro Derek Carden, who travels regularly to Hastings to hold rehearsals every week.

And there is some more exciting news! Due to the pandemic’s lockdown, the Sinfonia had to remain silent and unable to rehearse for over a year. Nevertheless, always inventive, the organisation has managed to create one very positive outcome from the situation. Lead by David Bottom, one of their clarinettists, they have formed a brand new, associated ensemble, the ‘Hastings Sinfonia Wind Quintet’. The new group has started rehearsing together on zoom and then together as soon as Covid rules have permitted. Members of the new and very promising ensemble are Annabel Noton (flute), Gail Taylor (oboe), Adam Rawlinson (bassoon) and Tim Egan (French horn). Their first public performance will take place on Sunday 22nd August at 2pm at the bandstand in Hastings’s Alexandra Park. Why not come along, listen to beautiful music and meet the musicians!?

If you are interested in joining the very welcoming Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra please email its chair Sandra Goodsell on: [email protected]

Make Music Day on Monday 21 June Brighton Dome

Monday 21 June sees the return of Make Music Day; a worldwide celebration of music in person, online and beyond. Brighton & Hove Music & Arts (BHMA) and East Sussex Music (ESM) will be celebrating in style with an all-day virtual event that everyone can be a part of.

Giving music-makers a platform to showcase their work, BHMA and ESM are inviting everyone, from beginner to expert, to submit videos of their own performances, which will be shared on social media throughout the day, as well as showcasing videos from their talented teachers, learners and more. On top of this, there will be competitions and giveaways, live streams with free teachings and performances, messages from special guests and awards for the best performers, all to be announced soon.

To submit your videos, visit bit.ly/MusicDayForm and to stay up to date with announcements, join the official Facebook event page at bit.ly/MusicDayEventFB.

Make Music Day began in France as Fête de la Musique in 1982 when the Ministry of Culture imagined a great popular event that would allow all musicians to express themselves and make themselves known. This worldwide phenomenon first came to the UK in 2012 and the number of gigs taking place has been growing year on year. 2017 was the first UK-wide coordinated event with support and funding from national organisations resulting in 147 performances. In 2020, there were 1,739 performances live and online and it’s still growing. This is an opportunity to get involved in the world’s largest grassroots music movement – it’s a wonderful way to celebrate the longest day of the year.

Rye Creative Centre launches new events programme

Developments have recently been taking place at Rye Creative Centre (www.ryecreativecentre.co.uk). Whist the building will still function as artist studio space, the site has recently undergone major renovation, bringing to life the former ‘Old Gym’ into an auditorium, creating a new, flexible and modern performance venue for Rye.
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We launch our events programme with a concert in collaboration with Oxford Lieder (https://www.oxfordlieder.co.uk) next Friday 21st May @ 7.30pm

Hastings International Piano Concerts

Details of a new series of concerts have just been released featuring the piano in different styles and settings.

Friday 28th May 7pm
Rye Creative Centre
Claire Martin OBE and Nikki Iles

Monday 21st June 7pm
Fairlight Hall
Cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason MBE
and pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason

Saturday 17th or 18th July dependant on weather
12.30pm – 1.30pm and 6pm – 7pm
Fairlight Hall
Lucy Parham and Tim McInnerny

Saturday 11th or Sunday 12th September dependant on weather 2pm
Fairlight Hall
2019 HIPCC Prizewinner Yuanfan Yang

Saturday 25th September 5.30pm
Fairlight Hall
Mitsuko Uchida

Friday 8th October 7pm
White Rock Theatre
Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition Launch Concert with Maxim Kinasov and The EU Chamber Orchestra

Saturday 4th December 7pm
HIP Christmas Concert in Rye
with Sholto Kynoch and Schubert and Co Singers
An Evening of Opera and Song

hastingsinternationalpiano.org

New Sussex Opera update

Next production: Offenbach’s The Princess of Trébizonde
After such a joyful production of Offenbach’s La Belle Hélène in 2019/20, we could not resist the temptation to follow it with another of his hilarious (but much lesser known) masterpieces. Postponed because of Covid, it is rescheduled for mid November to early December. It has all the wonderfully zany ingredients typical of Offenbach’s work: set in a travelling circus, the action begins as a daughter of the acrobat dusts a waxwork of Princess Trébizonde and accidentally breaks off its nose. She then has no choice but to instal herself in its position and to impersonate the statue. A visiting prince turns up and, naturally, falls in love with what he thinks is the waxwork…

Toby Purser conducts St Paul’s Sinfonia. Director Tony Baker, who has directed several NSO productions in the past, has created a new version in English.

We are finalising tour dates and venues. Keep up to date at
newsussexopera.org

Holy Trinity Hastings Lunchtime Concerts

The 30th series of the popular lunchtime concerts at Holy Trinity Church, Robertson Street, Hastings re-start on Wednesday 2nd June.

FREE ADMISSION with retiring collection
Wednesdays, June to August 1.10 p.m
and a special finale to celebrate 30 series
Saturday 4th September, 2.30 p.m.
The Sussex Concert Orchestra Conducted by Ken Roberts

Full details of the varied programme of performances by local performers can be found at

www.hthchurch.org

 

 

Brighton Dome launches new online music courses

Having already inspired hundreds of children and young people to participate in music activities during lockdown through their Virtual Music Centre, Brighton Dome’s music education service have launched a new series of online music courses, accessible for all ages and abilities.

 

Brighton & Hove Music & Arts and East Sussex Music will be delivering three course styles to suit different skill levels. First is personal one-to-one tutoring sessions, with teaching available on 16 different instruments from keyboard, guitar, trumpet or saxophone to violin,  offering expert guidance every step of the way.

The second style of course on offer is a 10-week masterclass which specialises in song writing and production. Learning and participating as part of a group, this is a great opportunity to interact with other students and is a lower cost entry route to help learners get started. All that’s needed to take part in either one of these courses is an internet connection and a camera; upon completion, participants will earn themselves a digital badge, which could make an excellent addition to a musician’s CV.

The third type of course on offer are self-paced video courses available via instant video download; ideal for people with busy lifestyles, this course is designed to help people learn ukulele, drums or guitar at their own pace. The package is delivered in ten easy-to-digest sessions, alongside a support pack, to provide users with the perfect foundations to help them start on their journey towards instrument mastery.

All of these courses are available to residents in the UK, whether a beginner, intermediate or advanced performer.

As the largest music service in East Sussex, Brighton & Hove Music & Arts have over 20 years’ experience teaching thousands of students, their music teachers are some of the best in their field, and have finessed a fantastic approach to learning an instrument online.

Peter Chivers, Head of Brighton & Hove Music & Arts, said:
‘’Music has the potential to transform lives. Whether it is through the enjoyment of mastering instrumental and vocal skills, the excitement of developing creative ideas, the experience of seeing and hearing world class musicians or the thrill of actually performing, getting involved in music can be a truly fulfilling and lifelong experience.’’

To find out more information on pricing, course dates and more, visit the Brighton & Hove Music & Arts website bhma.org.uk or call 01273 261 565.