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 –

Jeane Holmes ( Co. Secretary) 01795 423589 –

John McCabe (Artistic Director) 01795 423551 –

Monica McCabe (Artistic Administrator)) – as above

Miles Attwell (Communications) 01795 477233 –

David Williams (Newsletter) 01634 372545 –

(Co-opted) Sandra Payne 01795424731 –


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

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