The final chorus at Edington
12:00pm Friday 31st August 2012 in By Will Frampton
Singers from churches and colleges across the county gathered in Edington Priory Church last week for the 57th annual festival of choral music.
This year the festival was themed around the seasons of the church calendar from Advent to Pentecost, with Christmas on Wednesday and Good Friday on Thursday.
It was the last festival for outgoing director Ashley Grote, who will be taking up the post of Master of Music at Norwich Cathedral.
Mr Grote, 30, who has been director for three years, and organist for six, said: “I’m very pleased with how it has gone this year, it has been a great atmosphere.
“Next year I think they will have to up the publicity a bit, we don’t want to become complacent and assume people will know what’s going on.
“Being director has been immensely enjoyable, it is a great privilege and a really good opportunity for younger musicians to gain experience.
“I have made a lot of contacts and friends in my time here, both among the visiting musicians and in the village itself.
“I won’t be involved with the festival from now on, but am looking forward to joining the audience, particularly when the new organ is installed.”
Incoming festival director Benjamin Nicholas, 35, said he had no major changes planned.
“I’m going to do my best to keep the festival as successful as it is,” he said.
“It is going to be an interesting festival to lead over the next few years, I have been conducting here for two years now, and the Priory Church is a very special place to hold it.
“I would like to continue to include new music and commission pieces as well.
“There will obviously be much excitement as we look forward to the arrival of the new organ in 2014 and the festival’s 60th anniversary in 2015.”
Mr Nicholas, who lives in Cheltenham, is Reed Rubin organist and director of music at Merton College, Oxford, and founded the Tewkesbury Abbey Schola Cantorum.
Among the week’s music was Allegri’s Miserere, masses by Palestrina and Byrd, and music from composers as varied as Poulenc, John Taverner and Pawel Lukaszewski.
Around £50,000 remains to be raised for the Priory Church’s new £400,000 Harrison and Harrison organ, due to be installed in time for the 2014 festival that August.
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