Music at GMC

2007 Festival Events

During the Gillingham Festival fortnight in July 2007 we held four special Festival events. The first was an Organ Open Day on Saturday, 30th June when we invited everyone to come along and play our newly-restored Sweetland organ. Despite the dreadful weather, we had a number of takers! The Open Day concluded with an informal organ recital (The Organists Entertain) given by Peter Lattimer, Chris Mahon and Gordon Amery.

On the following weekend, we held a Choral weekend with Chepstow Male Voice Choir performing on Saturday 7th July and London Forest Choir on the Sunday afternoon. The weekend was rounded off on the Sunday evening with a Violin Concert given by virtuoso violinist Jennifer Holt.

Further details follow:-
Concert: Festival Event:
Chepstow Male Voice Choir in Concert
Date: Saturday 7th July, 2007
Performers: Chepstow Male Voice Choir
CD available: Yes - please contact Music at GMC here


  1. Soldiers' Chorus from "Faust" - Gounod
    Sailing - Gavin Sutherland
    Angels - Williams and Chambers
  2. Solo by John Warnes
    Trio by John Warnes, Clive Oliver and Ray Jones
  3. Ol' Man River (Soloist: Ray Jones) - Jerome Kern
    Troyte's Chant (Eli Jenkins' Prayer)
  4. Solo by Tony Davey
    Solo by Eileen Chesworth
  5. Watching the Wheat - arr. Henry Geehl
    Love Could I Only Tell Thee - Doris Arnold
  6. +++ Interval +++

  7. Gloria from the 12th Mass - Mozart
    Jacob's Ladder - Spiritual
    Beatles Medley - arr. Alan Simmons
  8. Solo by Clive Oliver
    Duet by Eileen Chesworth and Ray Jones
  9. 23rd Psalm - Schubert
    Soon Ah Will Be Done - William L.Dawson
  10. Solo by Richard Fry
  11. Fantasia on Famous Welsh Airs - Mansel Thomas
    Gwahoddiad - John Tudor Davies

Chepstow Male Voice Choir was formed in March, 1988 and gave its inaugural concert in St. Mary's Church, Chepstow, in the same year. Throughout its existence, the choir has remained true to the tradition of giving pleasure to others through song.

The Choir renewed the presence of male choral singing in Chepstow which had lapsed during the Second World War. It may be unique in the tradition of male choirs in Wales in that it draws members not only from long established residents of the area but also includes men from further west in South Wales who came eastwards with the opening of the Llanwern Steelworks and others from across Offa's Dyke in the Forest of Dean, where, too, there has been a long tradition of male voice choirs. This amalgam of voices has given Chepstow a distinctive tone and balance as well as a feature often commented upon by audiences, a clarity of diction.

In male voice choir singing, four part harmony is the format, the usual arrangement of sections (facing the choir) being bass on the right, next to baritone (middle right), then second tenor (middle left), with top tenor on the left. In Chepstow Choir they tried a different line-up a few years ago, with the basses and baritones on the wings (bass on the right) and the tenors in the middle ("tops" to the left of centre and "seconds" to the right). This was the preference of the Musical Director of the time, who felt it gave better balance of sound, and they have kept it ever since.

The choir is led by Brian Howard whose extensive band and choral conducting experience are further emphasising the unique character of Chepstow's singing qualities. He is assisted by Elaine Rigby who has wide choir experience, joining them in 2006. Elaine ran her own youth choir in Chepstow for some years. They also rejoice in having two superb piano accompanists, Rosemarie Lewis and Eileen Chesworth.

The choristers have experienced the joys of singing in the wonderful acoustics of such buildings as Wells and Bristol Cathedrals, in the Royal Albert Hall and in Malmesbury Abbey. Tonight they were delighted to be visiting Gillingham Methodist Church!

Concert: Festival Event:
London Forest Choir in Concert
Date: Sunday 8th July, 2007
Performers: London Forest Choir
CD available: Yes - please contact Music at GMC here


  1. Zadok the Priest - George Frederic Handel
  2. Hear my prayer, O Lord - Henry Purcell
  3. Nolo mortem peccatoris - Thomas Morley
  4. Ave verum corpus - William Byrd
  5. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace - S S Wesley
  6. The Long Day Closes - Arthur Sullivan
  7. Beati quorum via - C V Stanford
  8. O thou, the central orb - Charles Wood
  9. O Saviour of the world - John Goss
  10. My soul, there is a country - C Hubert Parry
  11. Jesu, the very thought of thee - Edward Bairstow
  12. God so loved the world - John Stainer
  13. Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis in D - Charles Wood
  14. Ave verum corpus op 2 no 1; Ave Maria op 2 no 2 - Edward Elgar
  15. Give Unto the Lord - Edward Elgar

The London Forest Choir was established in 1950 in Walthamstow, North East London, where it has been based ever since. Their conductor is Jonathan Rathbone, formerly musical director of the Swingle Singers, whilst they were accompanied on the organ this afternoon by Stefan Reid.

Concert: Festival Event:
Jennifer Holt in Concert
Date: Sunday 8th July, 2007
Performer: Jennifer Holt
CD available: Yes - please contact Music at GMC here


  1. Chaconne for Violin - Vitali
  2. Concerto for Violin in G minor - Bruch
  3. Meditation - Thais
  4. Danse Macabre - Saint-Saëns
  5. +++ Interval +++

  6. After The Tryst - Macmillan
  7. Sonata for Violin and Piano - Elgar
  8. Rondo Cappricioso - Saint-Saëns

Jennifer Holt BMus (Hons) was born in Poole in 1983 and began violin tuition from her mother at the age of 3. She has since studied with Alison Kay, Dr Robert Jacoby and at Trinity College of Music with Ezster Boda Katona and Gina McCormack. Following her graduation, she is living and working in Bournemouth, where she continues her study under Duncan Riddell.

As a soloist Jennifer was awarded the E M Pearce Prize for instrumental music whilst still a student. This led to a performance of the Bruch Violin Concerto under her father's baton! She has since given many performances in the UK, both as soloist and with her duo partner. Venues include, Regent Hall, Winchester Cathedral, Canary Wharf, the Jacqueline du Pre Music building in Oxford, the Royal Courts of Justice, and most recently, the Barbican Centre in London. Whilst studying at Trinity College of Music, she participated in Masterclasses with Michael Bochmann, Anthony Marwood, and Gordon Nikolitch, and this year, was awarded the Mehroo and Byram Jeejeebhoy Duo Prize.

Most of Jennifer's playing commitments are to chamber music. As well as her established duo, Jennifer also leads the Chimera Quartet, taking coaching from Elizabeth Turnball. The quartet has participated in Masterclasses with the Brodsky, Vellinger and Wihan Quartets and gives regular recitals around the UK, most recently at London's St-Martin-in-the-Fields.

Jean Holt graduated from the Royal College of Music where she studied violin, piano and accompanying. On completion of her studies she moved to Dorset where she taught music in several local schools. Her present position is Head of Music at St. Edwards School in Poole. Since becoming Musical Director for the Bournemouth Gilbert & Sullivan Operatic Society in 1991, she has conducted their concert season and main production each year.

A renowned chef and winemaker, Jean also manages to musically direct a variety of amateur operatic companies, as well as carrying out her day job as Head of Music.


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