Calne’s 39th music and arts festival kicks off this weekend with more than 30 performances and exhibitions taking place over the next ten days.

This year’s festival looks likely to be just as popular as last year, with 1,000 tickets being sold in the first week they went on sale.

John Bentley School principal Laura Carleton will officially open the festival at a private viewing of the art exhibition at Marden House today.

There will also be a photography exhibition at the Calne Heritage Centre and a children’s art exhibition at Calne Library, with the chance to enter competitions.

Highlights of the festival include a performance from Edinburgh Fringe star Pip Utton, who will take his one-man show Adolf to John Bentley School on Wednesday.

Local acts will include a performance from Calne’s popular contemporary rhythmic choir Singchronize next Thursday and the Calne Silver Band, who will play with the Dauntsey Big Band on October 11.

President Carole Brown said the festival was fortunate to have so many talented musicians, authors and artists living locally who feature regularly in the festival.

She: “This year’s programme is very wide-ranging and features classical recitals, orchestras, jazz bands, choral works, talks, folk, dance and theatre.

“Whatever the genre, our programme committee makes sure that a very high standard is maintained.

“In the coda which follows the main evening concert we give a platform to local musicians, and these concerts are free.

“We have devoted a whole day to young performers.

“There will be a massed choir from the local primary schools singing works from Benjamin Britten to the Beatles, performances by Marlborough College, John Bentley and Dauntsey’s School.”

This year the lunchtime concert series has been revamped and the Marden House kitchen will be serving buffet lunches and snacks after each concert.

Also new to the festival is a quiz night, where teams of four can test their knowledge of the music and arts.

Mrs Brown said: “The festival has gone from strength to strength with at least three events on offer each day. I am looking forward to the quiz on the first Sunday evening and testing my knowledge on music and the arts.

“Ticket sales have exceeded 1,000 in the first week with most events proving to be popular.

“This is an amazing community project of which the town can be justly proud.”

For a full festival programme visit

The box office is at Calne Information Centre and will be open until October 11 from 9am to 4pm on weekdays and 9.30am to noon on Saturdays.

Young carers in musical debut

Young carers from Wiltshire, who have been working with
professionals from the Bath Philharmonia Orchestra, will make their musical debut at the Calne Music and Arts Festival.

Twenty-four young carers,
between the ages of six and 18, have been working with the orchestra and artistic director Jason Thornton for the last month.
Although some of them had never played an instrument before, together they have created a piece of original music based on their lives and experiences.

Young carers often have significant responsibilities for caring for a seriously ill or disabled family member and may have difficulties at school because of their responsibilities.

The piece will include voices, violin, keyboards, drums, saxophone, guitars, triangles, bells, cymbals, and other musical sounds to evoke their feelings about their daily lives.

They will perform at Calne town hall on Saturday as part of the festival and will also be supported by music undergraduates from Bath Spa University.
Artistic director Jason Thornton said: “Our ethos is that the orchestra should serve the community. I aspire to the same quality standards in this project as I would do with the orchestra.

“Once we have created the music with the young carers I take them through the same rigorous rehearsal process as I would with professional musicians.

“We aim to give the young carers an aspirational element to their lives which will put them at centre stage and let them have a voice.”
The performance will start at 3pm and is free to attend.


Free recital thanks to husband and wife team

Husband and wife Jessica and Nic Pillow, who met through their love of music, will team up to share some of their favourite pieces during a free recital.

The couple met at Clifton Cathedral, where they were both singing with a choir, and will perform at Marden House on Wednesday at 9.30pm.

Mr Pillow, who plays the piano, is a product manager in the telecoms industry and Mrs Pillow, who plays the flute, is managing director at the accountancy firm Pillow May, based in East Tytherton.

Their programme will include a sonata for flute and piano, written by the French composer Poulenc, as well as a piece called Variations on a Hallelujah, which formed part of their wedding ceremony.

The piece was composed by Martin Le Poidevin, who often leads mass at Clifton Cathedral, and he altered it for their wedding so they could play it together.

Mrs Pillow, who developed her love of music by playing in her university orchestra at Exeter, said she was keen to dispel the myth that accountants are only capable of juggling numbers.

She said: “Because we work in the local community it’s nice to be able to give something back, and it’s nice for me to get my name out there not just as an accountant but for the fact that I play music.

“It’s quite a personal programme. We chose the Poulenc piece because I’m a quarter French anyway and it’s a really fun piece to learn – there’s a lot going on.”



An evening of Gilbert and Sullivan with the Swindon Gilbert and Sullivan Society at Marden House, 7.30pm.
Irish folk music session at the White Hart Hotel, 9pm to 11pm.
Organ recital by David Bevan at St Mary’s Church,12.15pm.
A concert led by Bath Philharmonic artistic
director Jason Thornton with Wiltshire young carers at the town hall, 3pm.
The Avebury vocal
ensemble at St Mary’s Church, 7.30pm.
An evening of folk and English dance tunes from The Yirdbards at Marden House, 7.30pm
The festival service at St Edmund’s Church,10am.
A concert celebrating chamber works written by Mozart in 1786 at Marden House, 3pm.
A quiz night at Marden House, 7.30pm
The Millfield Trio at Marden House, 12.15pm.
An evening at the piano performed by three young musicians at Marden House, 7.30pm.
Four soprano singers from Bel Canto at Marden House, 9.30pm.
From Britten to the Beatles at John Bentley School, 12.15pm.
Students from John Bentley will perform at Marden House, 7.30pm.
St Mary’s School students will perform at Marden House, 9.30pm.
The Marlborough College Jazz Band at Marden House, 12.15pm.
Adolf, written and
performed by Pip Utton, at John Bentley School, 7.30pm.
Talk by archaeological artist Peter Dunn at Marden House, 7.30pm.
Flute and piano recital by Jessica and Nic Pillow at Marden House, 9.30pm.
October 10
Violin recital by Rowan Patterson and Mary Pilcher-Clayton at Marden House, 12.15pm.
Vocal recital by Kristina Takashina and friends at Marden House, 7.30pm.
Calne choir Singchronize, Marden House, 9.15pm.
October 11
The Somerford Scribes will read a selection of poems at Marden House, 12.15pm.
Saxophonist Hayley Lambert and pianist Paul Turner at Marden House, 7.30pm.
The Dauntsey Big Band and Calne Silver Band in the town hall, 7.30pm.
A piano recital by Year 12 Abbeyfield student Jasmin Baker at Marden House, 9.30pm.
October 12

Angelina Ballerina workshop at Calne Library, 11.30am and 2.30pm.
Fairy trail through Calne starting from the town hall, 1pm.
Bokwa dance workshop at the town hall, 11am.
Adult street dance workshop at the town hall, 2pm.
Zumba at the town hall, 3.30pm.
Dance display from the FitzGraham Academy of Dance, town hall, 5pm.
Ceilidh at the town hall, 7.30pm.
October 13
An evening service at St Mary’s Church, 6pm.
Festival finale with
members of Tom Bott’s High Society Orchestra at Marden House, 7.30pm.
For ticket prices visit or call (01249) 816164.