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Edington Priory director’s festival swansong
Edington's annual choral music festival starts on August 19, with the theme ‘For everything there is a season’, as it looks at the church calendar.
This year’s festival, the 57th, will be the last for outgoing director Ashley Grote, who is taking up the post of master of music at Norwich Cathedral.
Nearly 80 experienced church musicians, from cathedrals and colleges across the country, travel to Edington Priory Church each year to form three specialised choirs.
The 2012 programme includes daily matins and compline, sung to plainchant by the Schola Cantorum, conducted by incoming festival director Benjamin Nicholas.
Among the pieces to be performed over the week will be Allegri’s Miserere, masses by Palestrina and Byrd, and music from composers as varied as Poulenc, John Taverner and Pawel Lukaszewski.
The choral evensong at 3.30pm on Wednesday, August 22, will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and includes a specially-commissioned piece from young British composer Edmund Rex.
All performances are free and full information can be found at www.edingtonfestival.org.
Meanwhile, progress on the church’s £400,000 replacement organ has been made and next year’s festival has been announced as the last hurrah for the existing 1905 Henry Jones instrument.
Already nearly £350,000 has been raised, thanks to Edington Music Festival Association, Friends of Edington Priory Church and private donors, as well as a £50,000 grant from Arts Council England.
Organ project organiser Anne Curtis said: “We are delighted to have raised so much.
“It is just the last stretch now, but we have signed the contracts, so building is going ahead.
“We are planning something slightly wacky as a send off for the old organ next year and some final fundraising events to bring us up to the total.”
Designed by acclaimed organ building firm Harrison and Harrison of Durham, the new organ is expected to be finished in time for a first performance during the 2014 festival.
The new instrument will have a case created by Penny’s Mill of Great Bedwyn.
“The new organ will be involved in an education programme which we are kicking off next year, getting more people involved with music,” added Mrs Curtis.