Winter 2009

Our Next Concert – Friday 13 th November

Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College, 7.45 pm



This celebrated group of string musicians will be bringing us a delightfully varied programme of popular works by Mozart, Rossini, Samuel Barber, Elgar, Holst and Bartok, as previously advertised. The London Concertante has earned high praise at home and abroad. To whet your appetite, here are some quotations from reviews of their playing.


‘Quality musicians. Quite excellent…pursuing each new pulse with the unanimity of a school of fish….tone as soft as velvet, bow strokes that really sing…’ (Evening Standard)


‘Played with silky-toned elegance…extraordinary unanimity. The London Concertante members, fine chamber musicians that they are, played with an uncanny clarity of texture…quite exquisite.’ (The Strad)


‘Drum-tight. This is superb chamber playing.’ (The Scotsman)

BBC Proms Celebrate

One of the featured composers celebrated in this year’s BBC Proms Festival at the Royal Albert Hall was our Musical Director, John McCabe, whose 70 th birthday was earlier this year. Two works by John were performed; of particular note was his recent Horn Concerto, which was given its London premiere on 5 th September by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. The soloist was former Young Musician of the Year, David Pyatt. Geoff Brown, in ‘The Times’, was warm in his appreciation of Pyatt, for his ‘mellifluous’ playing, and of John, for ‘the friendly craftsmanship…. a contemporary composer who actually communicates’. Before the concert John was the guest at a Pre Prom Interview with Stephen Johnson in the Royal College of Music. He explained that the contrasting elements in the Horn Concerto were inspired by the impact made upon him by the equatorial rain forest, on the one hand, and by big band jazz music, on the other. Students of the RCM also played some of John’s chamber music including his Cello Sonata, during the interview.


Celebrations have continued through the year with John being much in demand both as a composer and concert pianist. During the Three Choirs’ Festival in Hereford, in August, John was Composer-in-Residence where two new works by him were premiered. He gave the Wulstan Atkins Memorial Lecture on Joseph Haydn and his piano sonatas. More of John’s works were performed at a special Birthday Concert in the Cadogan Hall, in London, on 24 th September. John himself was piano soloist and was joined by the Kings’ Singers and the Sacconi Quartet, both of whom have performed for SMS. Also, at the esteemed Presteigne Festival, seven composers wrote fantasies in honour of John and of Haydn.


Swale Festival Invitation

We have received an invitation from Swale Borough Council to provide a summer classical concert during the Swale Festival next year. SMS would be delighted to respond, as we have in the past. It is an opportunity to participate more widely in the local musical scene. Unfortunately, the approach came too late for us to include such a concert in our budgeted plans for the 2009/10 season. SBC have offered financial help, but this is not sufficient to enable us to meet the considerable costs that would be involved. We are hoping for a meeting to discuss this.


Any one for Treasurer? – Please!

Our need for a Treasurer is now urgent. The Treasurer does not need to be well informed about classical music. We are looking for someone comfortable with book keeping. It would not be too onerous a task, as the Society’s accounts are not complex. Could it possibly be you? Or do you know someone whom you could approach or suggest to the Committee. Offers and suggestions please to SMS Company Secretary, Jeane Holmes (contact details below).


From the AGM

The following were elected Directors of the Society:

Peter Morgan (Chairman) 01795 423215 – petermorgan65@tiscali.co.uk

Jeane Holmes ( Co. Secretary) 01795 423589 – jeaneholmes@blueyonder.co.uk

John McCabe (Artistic Director) 01795 423551 – jnomccabe@talktalk.net

Monica McCabe (Artistic Administrator)) – as above

Miles Attwell (Communications) 01795 477233 – milespatattwell@aol.com

David Williams (Newsletter) 01634 372545 – wendyanddavid@talktalk.net

(Co-opted) Sandra Payne 01795424731 – sandrajpayne@blueyonder.co.uk


Deficit in 2008/9

The Annual Accounts for 2008/9 revealed a disappointing deficit of income over expenditure of £2,580. The draft report was presented by the Chairman, in the absence of a treasurer, and accepted, having been scrutinised by the accountant examiners, McCabe Ford Williams. The Directors agreed to look into comments and recommendations made by the examiner.

Continuing to increase our membership and size of audience is the only sure way to build a secure future. Pass on the word among your friends and acquaintences, or invite one other person to come with you.


Links with Schools

John McCabe expressed the Society’s gratitude to Sittingbourne Community College, for their co-operation and use of their hall for most SMS concerts. However, he was disappointed at the failure of music departments, in local schools generally, to make use of the concerts and workshops which SMS offers.


REMEMBER: First Concert in 2010

Linos Wind Quintet

Sittingbourne Community College , 26 th February, 7.45 pm

Summer 2009


As some of you may already be aware, our already too small Committee has been

decimated, as Julie and David Burns, Secretary and Treasurer respectively, are moving to another area. We wish the family well in their new home, and are most grateful for their efforts on our behalf. Meanwhile, Jeane Holmes will hold the post of Company Secretary as well as Membership Secretary. At the time of writing, we are still actively searching for a new permanent Treasurer – any offers please, for this position, or any other? Meanwhile, our member Sandra Payne has kindly agreed to be co-opted on to the Committe for next season, to assist in various capacities. I can’t say how grateful we are.

There is further trauma, in that Jeane Holmes, now holding two posts for us, had a bad fall in June. Again, at the time of writing, she is still in Medway Maritime Hospital, receiving surgery and medical treatment to a knee. This happened while John and I were on a concert tour in Israel, so our knowledge of the details is sketchy. We do wish her a speedy recovery, and all good wishes too, to Ben, her husband.

With all the pressures on the remaining Committee (and Peter Morgan is also very tied up with matters relating to the recent archeological discoveries locally), we are desperate for help, if only temporarily. John has been under enormous pressure of work due to his 70 th birthday celebrations, with concerts and recitals in many parts of the country, and his time has been almost entirely taken up with this, and writing new commissions for the Three Choirs Festival and the Proms. We are hopeful that a brochure will be available before long, for what will be a shortened season in 2009/10, and that the SMS will rise phoenix-like next year from these very heavy demands.


LOOKING FORWARD Our next season, 2009/10, only has three concerts – this is due to the pressure of work on those of us who organise the events, leading to a serious lack of time to do any more (which in turn is due to the lack of volunteers coming forward to help!). We have, however, three fascinating concerts, which should be extremely enjoyable, all very different and of the high standard we have maintained throughout our first five seasons. They are:



Friday 13 th November 2009 at 7.45 in the Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College: The LONDON CONCERTANTE, a crack group of string players giving us a programme of well-loved and inspiring string orchestra works (this almost qualifies as our first orchestral concert!): delightful pieces by Mozart and Rossini, the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber, two popular English works (Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Holst’s St Paul’s Suite), with a rousing and tuneful finish to the concert in Bartok’s Rumanian Folk Dances.


Friday 26 th February 2010 at 7.45 in the Bourne Hall, Sittingbourne Community College: the outstanding young ensemble the LINOS WIND QUINTET, several of whom hail from Faversham, give us another varied programme, starting with music from the Classical tradition in Reicha’s Wind Quintet in B flat, a rare and richly rewarding Romantic wind quintet by Klughardt (come and find out about him – this is a splendid piece), and several 20 th century works in which entertainment is the watchword, by Ibert and Paul Patterson (both works of standard and popular wind repertoire) and Hindemith’s Kleine Kammermusik. Don’t let the title put you off – this is a work from the 1920s and very much of its time in its humour, satire and romance. The programme is completed by Holst’s Wind Quintet, an early and enchanting piece giving us our second taste of this great composer this season.


Friday 23 rd April 2010 at 7.45 pm in Tunstall Parish Church: we’re delighted to be returning to this venue, which so many members enjoyed last time we were there, for a recital by JOHN TURNER (recorder), also making a welcome return visit in response to many requests, and the soprano LESLEY-JANE ROGERS, well-known for her appearances with the Sittingbourne Orpheus Choral Society. Their programme ranges from Canzonets by Thomas Morley and duos

by Dowland to a charming song-cycle by John Joubert, the Three Flower Songs by Arnold Cooke, whose death a year or so ago robbed Kent of one of its outstanding composers, and the first performance of a short work by the Liverpool composer and harpsichordist Bridget Fry . An unusual programme, but it promises to be very special.


MEMBERSHIP Our Membership increased last season to 60. However, we need to increase this still further – membership enables us to keep going, and without support of this kind it is extremely hard for any arts group to prosper. Think of it as the artistic equivalent of membership of the National Trust or English Heritage!