The times they are a-changing…

In the words of Bob Dylan, we are making a few changes at Ashford Sinfonia. Our conductor of 9 years, Wes Carroll, has had major changes in his day job, which represent a temporary step up, with the future undecided. In addition to running Hythe Salvation Army Band, a Community Choir and a large family, he is now acting Head of Folkestone Academy, and is finding the limits of his time and energy.

We have therefore, at Wes’s request and with his help, introduced an experienced professional to help conduct the Orchestra, in the person of Les Lake. Les has a wide experience of playing in major orchestras, and runs Hythe Town Band. He will be sharing his Monday evenings between us and Folkestone and Hythe Choral Society for the rest of this term.

As a result, we have had to change the date of our Spring Concert, which will now be a less formal event on Monday evening, 26th March. Families and friends will be welcome!

So as of this evening, we welcome Les Lake to Ashford Sinfonia, and hope he will enjoy working with us. We bid Wes au revoir and wish him success and happiness in his new post, and thank him for his energy, humour and professional dedication over the last near decade. Dare we hope to see him back again?

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Group Discount for Surrey Hills Concerts

Invested International Music Festival

I have received the following message from the organisers:

Following our exchange of emails in January, I am glad to say a discount
of £3 per tickets for groups of 10+ is now offered for concerts in the International Music Festival, as per flyer attached.

I would be happy to post some printed leaflets to you with details of the concerts
on 3rd, 4th,11th & 12th May.

Kind regards

Alison Hoskyns

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Half Term

Remember Monday 12th February is half term – no rehearsal!

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Investec International Music Festival

For full details of this series of concerts in Surrey, click on IIMF 2018 season flyer

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Wes’s Wonderful Christmas

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Christmas Spectacular

Ashford Sinfonia went on tour again on 10 December – all the way to Folkestone for our annual concert in collaboration with Hythe and New Romney Salvation Army.

The weather was atrocious and the Towers Theatre was a bit chilly (until our music warmed it up) but the house was almost full and the atmosphere cheerfully Christmassy.

All the usual components were in place – Richard Carroll’s panto/cracker jokes, which Wesley, our talented music director Wesley Carroll has borne (sorry, Richard!) all his life, lots of audience participation and Ding Dong Merrily on High with swaying mini lights in the dark.

There were two memorable high spots this year. First an eight year old audience volunteer named Meredith stood at the front and sung two verses of Away in a Manger solo. She did it with a level of poise, confidence and aplomb which astonished and delighted everyone present.

Second was a show stopper from our own, wonderfully talented Wesley Carroll. A family emergency meant that the usual soloist had cancelled at the last minute leaving a vacant slot. Wes filled it admirably by taking the titles of Christmas songs from the audience and then weaving them into an improvised medley. It was clever, tuneful and apparently effortless. Bravo Wes!

The Concert in full swing

Between these unexpected delights was some jolly playing from the band including a lovely setting of In The Bleak Mid Winter developed by the band with Wes on euphonium. The Shepway Community Choir sang well too especially in the very attractive Halleluia with solo by Grace Carroll.

And, as well as helping to accompany some of the carols and a medley we played Finlandia by Sibelius. We’re been practising it all term and the hard work seemed to pay off. The opening brass chords which can easily go wrong, and often did in rehearsal, were strong and incisive and we all managed to pack in plenty of atmospheric drama with all those rapid string bits, woodwind statements and lots of louds and softs. “Good, Well done all of you” said Wes to us beneath the applause at the end and I reckon we deserved it.

So thanks to all who made this event work so well, especially Callum and Beri, the spiritual leaders of Hythe and New Romney Salvation Army who shared their unpushy but passionate Christmas message with us.

Please may we come again next year?

Susan Elkin

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Our Christmas Tree

Once again this year, we have joined with our hosts at the Church of St Mary the Virgin in decorating a beautiful tree as part of the Christmas celebrations. A seven foot Nordmann Spruce was delivered yesterday and set in its stand: today we decorated it.

And so we wish all our members and their families, and our helpers and supporters, a Very Happy Christmas!

Our tree at Willesborough Church

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