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The Oxjam Bee

Oxjam Beeston

Music Festival

A Sunday Afternoon Recital

Ever innovative, the Oxjam Beeston Music Festival this year developed a hybrid of its ‘Classical’ and ‘House’ concerts with a small-scale song recital on a Sunday afternoon.

Nearly 60 people gathered at Middle Street Resource Centre in November where they were entertained by Elaine Chipchase (mezzo-soprano) and Colin Tucker (tenor) accompanied at the keyboard by John Wilson.

Elaine’s choices ranged from Henry Purcell to Kurt Weill by way of some Victorian-era settings by Roger Quilter of renaissance lyrics, ending with the lovely ‘A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square.” She also presented three songs by Samuel Barber along with musical versions of poems by Byron and Shelley set by Alexander L’Estrange, and of A E Housman set by Barber and George Butterworth.

Colin chose songs mainly from the twentieth century with settings by Vaughan Williams, John Ireland and Benjamin Britten amongst others. He sang the well-known ‘Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair’ by Stephen Foster in a somewhat startlingly modern version from the 1980s. He finished with Finzi’s rousing setting of Shakespeare’s “It Was a Lover and his Lass”.

John Wilson accompanied throughout on keyboard mainly as piano but occasionally as harpsichord.

Audience members said they appreciated the variety of songs they had heard, some familiar but many for the first time. They showed their generosity and the afternoon’s profit for Oxjam was over £400.