75 Years of bringing classical concerts to the Vale of Evesham!
Evesham and District Music Club classical music concerts began being promoted in the Vale 75 years ago in the first season of 1948/1949. Post war restrictions meant you either had to travel to a major city to hear a concert or have access to a wireless or gramophone. A group of friends, led by Ron Edwards, then music teacher at Prince Henry’s Grammar School, decided it was important to bring high calibre artists to Evesham and arranged the first four concerts. The subscription was 15 shillings and the events were held in the Princess Hall at the school. The very first concert was given by renowned singer Dame Isobel Baillie accompanied by pianist Herbert Sumsion.
Over the decades many very talented and professional musicians have played in the town including Julian Bream and Craig Ogden - guitarists, Emma Johnson and Jack Brymer - clarinettists, Jayson Gillham and Benjamin Grosvenor - pianists, Roderick Williams, singer, Chris Marshall, percussionist and many, many more! All going on to become established names and famous in the world of classical music.
The range of groups and ensembles has included the Bounemouth Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Light Orchestra and the Midland Sinfonia, opera companies promoted by the Arts Council, numerous string quartets and trios such as the Coull, D’Amici, New Bochmann, Castalian, Villiers, Zingara, Pelleas, Volante, Goya…the list goes on and on. As befitting such an organisation as the EDMC, three musical works have been commissioned and premiered at concerts over the years, the last one composed by our artist in residence, Marcel Zidani.
Music for youth has often been at the forefront of concert planning and over the decades much has been achieved in this area. Apart from certain concerts being aimed at young people, the club has also promoted a series of very successful ‘Young Musician of the Year’ competitions in the 1990s and early 2000s. Also, summer events have been held at Springhill Barn, Fladbury, where young instrumentalists have been encouraged to play in front of a sympathetic audience and the Worcestershire Youth Orchestra gave a concert in 2019 as part of the 70th celebrations.
So as we enter our 75th year, the club can be proud of what it has achieved over the years and I hope you will agree that the concerts arranged for 2023-2024 continues that fine tradition – to bring outstanding classical music to the Vale of Evesham!
Oliver Lister, Chairman
The Evesham and District Music Club is grateful for the financial support from the following:
The Countess of Munster’s Musical Trust
Making Music Selected Artists
Wychavon District Council
Evesham Town Council
Pershore Town Council
The Elmley Foundation
The Rotary Club of Evesham
Divisional Funding from Councillors John Smith, Bob Banks and Anthony Hopkins