2017 marked seventy years since the founding of the Dorset Rural Music School and a full programme of events was offered to celebrate this important milestone in our career.
Senior students and staff took part in a concert held at the Church of St.Peter and St.Paul in a programme designed also to demonstrate our group work with contributions from, amongst others, the Sing for Pleasure choir and the Dorchester String Orchestra.
We welcomed our old friend Dr. Chris Price to lead a Singing Workshop on Glees and Catches, partsongs from the 18th and 19th centuries full of wit and political satire. As ever with Chris, this was an excellent blend of learning and good fun. We hope to welcome him back very soon for a similar event.
Two ‘Dorset Island Discs’ events were held. Firstly John Young, High Sheriff of Dorset, was in conversation with Richard Hall at the Tithe Barn, Hinton St Mary. John had a most interesting and amusing tale to tell, shaped around a very varied programme of music which ranged from ‘Peter Grimes’ to Danny Kaye!
Then later in the year the tables were turned and DRMS Director Richard hall was cast away the the Dorset/Desert Island. There was no Danny Kaye amongst his choices but a large audience enjoyed learning about his many years spent making music in Dorset, the event being held on Richard’s home ground in the delightful Village Hall at Briantspuddle.
Something of a highlight was a ‘scatch’ performance of Messiah held in the ideal setting of the United Church, Dorchester. A choir of over one hundred voices came together, accompanied by an orchestra made up of friends of the school and a remarkably high standard was achieved after only three hours of rehearsal.
In July we welcomed back one of our most distinguished alumni Duncan Honeybourne to give a double recital, playing not only our recently refurbished Steinway but also the very fine modern harpsichord which is now lodged with us by courtesy of the family of the late Bill Debenham who made the instrument at the specialist Finchcocks workshop. A very varied programme was presented to a capacity audience; we are very fortunate that a player of Duncan’s standard is happy to come and play for us.