On 13 April I hosted a launch party for the Severn Muses website at my home in Tewkesbury and we had a great evening. Guests included representatives from festivals, music societies, orchestras, concert halls, choral societies, musicians and even audience members! It was a chance to catch up with old friends and make new connections. We had a Chinese student staying with us for a few days, Zhihai, who took some photos which you can see here.
As usual this year, I had the pleasure of being involved in Polyphony's performance of JS Bach's St John Passion at St John's Smith Square in London, conducted as always by Stephen Layton. Every year Stephen finds something different to say in this great work, and this year I was particularly struck by the singing of the Evangelist, Stuart Jackson, telling the story with such commitment, every word so clear. Those tricky tenor arias were sung by Gwilym Bowen - son of Geraint (Director of Music at Hereford Cathedral) and nephew of Meurig (Artistic Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival). The soprano soloist was Elin Manahan Thomas, also with Welsh roots!
Jill Davies has spent most of her life immersed in music, from sitting under the piano while her mum gave lessons to taking up the ukulele a couple of years ago. She's an agent (mainly for singers) by day, has a personal record of going to 12 concerts in 3 days, and can't decide whether it's more fun to sing Elgar partsongs or play Gibbons viol consorts.