Category Archives: music

Emily’s ready! Come hear the music play

She’s suited, she’s booted and she’s definitely not muted! Emily the organ is playing again at St Mark’s Church on Saturday, July 20, from 7.30pm at a free concert to which everyone is invited.

Emily the pipe organ, named after her benefactor and noted woman of Hale, Emily Mangles, is more than 100 years old and, as befitted her age (she was installed in 1912) needed an overhaul. She has now been completely restored to her former glory by organ specialists FH Browne and Sons and you can hear her play at Saturday’s free concert where performances by members of the North Hampshire Organists’ Association (NHOA) will demonstrate just how good she can sound with a varied programme of work from Gershwin to Bach, with Schubert, Morricone, Grieg and others in between.

Alongside the music there will be a bit about the history of the organ and an interview with none other than Emily Mangles herself…. In fact, we will have the original Emily’s great-great-great niece with us, who is also called Emily Mangles.

All this and cheese and wine too!

The concert is free but there will be an appeal during the evening. Unfortunately, when she was being restored some further problems emerged. This means that we have to raise some more money – another £2,000 is our target – and the restorers have kindly trusted us to do so and finished the job.

The organ is, in the words of Frances Whewell, one of the main people working to ensure that Emily could be restored: “a most marvellous present to St Mark’s which will enhance our worship and all the community events”. She most certainly is.

So come along, listen to Emily and enjoy a special evening on Saturday at 7.30pm at St Mark’s, Alma Lane,  Farnham, GU9 0LT.

Picture by George Britton:
georgebrittonphotography@gmail.com
Instagram – @g3xrg3

 

 

 

It’s party time!

There’s a birthday party in St John’s churchyard, Hale, on Saturday, July 20, from 12-2pm, and everyone is invited.

The party, called Music in the Churchyard, will celebrate the 175th anniversary of St John’s. There will be food and drink and plenty of cake, all of it free, with music by Farnham artist Jasper and the Island, and fellow singer Meg Wassell. Both will be performing well-known songs by bands such as ABBA and Fleetwood Mac alongside classic jazz and old-style numbers.

Jasper and the Island is a singer/songwriter with influences from country, pop and folk, but who also enjoys performing theatre and covers. She currently has original songs on SoundCloud, but will be releasing her debut EP later this year. Jasper and the Island often performs on the last Wednesday of the month at The Plough in Farnham. Meg is a jazz/soul/pop singer songwriter whose influences include Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse and Gregory Porter. In April, Meg released her debut EP Blood Orange and is vocalist for the Sundown Jazz Society band. She is currently creating new music, playing local festivals and holding jazz residencies in her hometown of Hereford.

Pictured from left: Jasper and the Island (photo by Daisy Sharp); Meg Wassell (photo by Ellie Burd).

The idea behind the party is not just to celebrate a milestone for this beautiful Victorian church which was consecrated in 1844, but to invite everyone to come and enjoy the hospitality which the church offers. Lesley Crawley said: “St John’s is everyone’s church and as well as celebrating our anniversary, we are looking forward to the future and we want the community to be involved in that future. We really want to hear from people what they want from the church and are running a survey for residents and local organisations to complete.” To find the survey click here.

Entry to the party is completely free but we need to know numbers so that we can prepare enough food and drink. Let us know if you are coming by emailing news@badshotleaandhale.org

What a Shindig!

Come to the Music and Art Shindig at St Mark’s, Hale, this Saturday (June 8) from 1.30pm to around 7.30pm.

The event is part of the Farnham Flash Festival 2019 and is open to all.  There will be a wide selection of music all day, starting with a more classical orientation with piano and a trio singing a selection of light music, and ending with a rock and blues jam session in the evening.

There is a very special choir coming – Kindred Spirits, which is a forum for people with breast cancer to come together for support and friendship. They will be singing a fantastic set and then there will be South American guitar, instrumental electric guitar, electric blues and a peformance of folk roots music by Cajun Boogaloo.

It all takes place at St Mark’s, Alma Lane, GU9 0LT. Doors open at 1.15pm; cash bar and café in the afternoon; barbecue at 5.30pm. The Amazing Mr McDonut will provide uproarious entertainment at 5pm.

Entry is free so you can come and go as you please, and the layout is informal, café-style.

There will be the opportunity to make donations to the charity Mary’s Meals (marysmeals.org.uk) which works in 18 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean to provide meals for school children who would otherwise go hungry.

Hundreds flock to first flower festival

“Warm, welcoming, colourful, life-affirming, loving, nourishing and sustaining.” That was just one description of the inaugural flower festival at St John’s Church over the weekend of May 18-19.

The festival was a huge success and attracted hundreds of visitors who gave warm praise for an event which was packed not just with people and flowers, but also with art, craft, music, refreshments and a happy, relaxed atmosphere.

Community groups, local organisations, artists, schools, churches, charities and other faith groups all came together to create floral displays, art and craft, filling the church with colour and scent. There were flowers on window sills, tables and in the pulpit; paintings on walls and easels and strung across the church; floral photographs on display; a table of hats with a floral theme; and even a chance to taste gin made with local elderflowers.

The tea and cake stand did brisk business, while others sipped Pimm’s, and a table full of plants from Bells Piece, the local Leonard Cheshire home, was almost emptied, partly thanks to the advice and selling skills of gardening expert John Negus. In all the festival made more than £1,100 for the church to help it in its work in north Farnham.

Visitors were enthusiastic with their praise. “Beautiful flowers to match the beautiful church,” said one visitor, while another said: “Lovely – so great to see community projects working together”, and another: “I had a brilliant time and was made to feel very welcome by all of you”. There have already been requests for another festival next year.

“Thank you so much to everyone who took part over the weekend,” said Rev’d Lesley Crawley. “The festival was a real celebration of community and creativity and was a fitting launch to a series of events to mark the 175th anniversary of St John’s Church. Thank you to those who visited the festival; to those who contributed displays, art and craft; to the musicians; the cake-bakers; those who served tea, coffee and cake; those who moved tables, washed up, put up posters and bunting – everyone who took part in any way.

“For the past 175 years, St John’s has been a focal point in the village and we want to ensure that it is being used by the community in a way that is relevant to contemporary needs. We have been conducting a survey to ask what people want from us and there is still time to take part. You can find the survey in the church or at  https://goo.gl/XQQ8qT.

“Please do come to the rest of our 175th anniversary events. First we have a talk on June 5 on Art, Architecture and Christianity in Victorian Britain by the renowned expert Christopher Herbert, and we will be following this with an arts and crafts exhibition on June 22-23, a party in the churchyard on July 20, an afternoon of tea and reminiscing on August 3, and a celebratory service with the Bishop of Guildford and former clergy from St John’s on November 24. Everyone is welcome at all or any of these events.”

 

Pictured top is the display by the Farnham Baha’is. Photo by George Britton.

 

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Favourite jazz for two of Farnham’s favourites: Jean and Ted Parratt

 

St Mark’s Church, Hale, was packed earlier this month for an evening of jazz music and memories of two of Farnham’s best-known residents – the late Jean and Ted Parratt.

Jean and Ted’s daughter Wendy Edwards put on Caravan Jazz in memory of her parents and the music which they would listen to in the early years of her life when the family was living in a series of caravans in Lincolnshire.

Wendy was joined by Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and vocalists Melissa Heathcote and Mike Twiddy to sing songs by jazz greats including Django Reinhardt, Gershwin, Glenn Miller, and Rodgers and Hart. In between, she showed pictures of her family and talked about the early years of her life between 1956 and 1962. Ted was away during the week on his National Service, so Jean was often alone caring for the three children in a small caravan in Lincolnshire.  Weekends were precious when Ted came home and played jazz on his guitar. These were what Jean later described as the ‘hungry years’ when there was little money and she often made potato soup with very few potatoes, but she also recalled them as among the happiest years in their lives.

The large audience was grouped around café-style tables, with refreshments, while they listened to the music which Jean and Ted had loved, and looked at family photos projected onto a screen.

Afterwards Wendy Edwards said: “A huge thank-you to everyone who helped in any way to make Caravan Jazz the great success it was. I thoroughly enjoyed singing with the talented Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and vocalists Melissa Heathcote and Mike Twiddy.  I could not have managed this event without the help of so many people who willingly gave their time, talents and money. Many thanks to you all.”

The event raised £900 for the Kitty Milroy Murals appeal to restore and protect a series of important murals painted a century ago.

Frances Whewell

 

Bluebird caravan 1957

 

Top: Jean and Ted Parratt in a field in 1956;
Above: The Bluebird Caravan in which the family lived in 1957 at Mere Road Caravan Site, Waddington, Lincolnshire.

Caravan, The Hungry Years and all that jazz

An evening of jazz in memory of Farnham journalists Jean and Ted Parratt

There will be an evening of jazz at St Mark’s Church, Hale, on Saturday, May 4 in memory of Jean and Ted Parratt, local journalists and parents of Wendy Edwards, a licensed lay reader in the parish.

‘Caravan Jazz on a May Evening’, which will begin at 7.30pm, will feature songs by Django Reinhardt, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller and others, and will recall the time that Ted and Jean and their young children would enjoy jazz songs in the caravan which was their home in Lincolnshire. Ted drew the picture of their first caravan – reproduced above – just before Wendy’s birth.

From her birth in October 1957 to the age of four, Wendy and her brother and sister, Mark and Debbie, lived with Jean and Ted in various sized caravans as the family grew.

By day, Ted was doing his National Service in the RAF, but in the evenings back in the caravan with Jean and the children, he played jazz on his guitar, sometimes accompanied by his best friend, Terry Blackwell. On other nights, Jean’s walnut-cased radiogram would be tuned in, often to a jazz station.

Wendy has been researching her parents’ early life and recalls that her mother: “cared wonderfully well for us through the changing seasons, making potato soup with very few potatoes (we were very challenged financially) but always ensuring we were well fed and well loved. My mother enjoyed the jazz too in the evenings and ‘made do and mended’ the family’s clothes, while jazz melodies and rhythms lullabied us children to sleep.”

Jean and Ted worked for many years as journalists and photographers on first the Surrey & Hants News and then The Farnham Diary, with Ted also working for the Farnham Herald, and Jean busy writing local history books and giving talks, particularly inspiring many young people to discover more about the past. Jean died in 2016 and Ted in 2018.

On May 4, as well as the jazz, Wendy will share some of her knowledge and photographs of the early years. She says: “My mother called that time The Hungry Years, but they both believed these were the happiest in their 60-year-long marriage.”

Joining Wendy on the evening will be Frances Whewell on keyboard and Teddy’s Café Bar Jazzmen and other talented vocalists.  A light supper is included but bring your own drinks.

Admission is free but all donations are welcome for the Kitty Milroy Murals Fund at St. Mark’s Church. However, Wendy adds: “If, like Jean and Ted in The Hungry Years, you cannot afford to donate anything, please do join us anyway as all are very welcome indeed!”

To book your place, call Wendy Edwards on 07740 082460.

 

A comforting croodle

The Celtic musical tradition of the British Isles is a rich one, with music which has been passed down the generations in Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the North East of England, and which has permeated non-Celtic culture. After all, don’t we all sing Auld Lang Syne at new year?

Auld Lang Syne is not the only familiar Celtic tune – there are plenty which most of us can sing along to, something ably demonstrated by the Celtic Croodle which took part at St Mark’s Church last Saturday evening (February 9), thanks to the hard work and talent of Wendy Edwards with support from Frances Whewell.

To croodle means to snuggle together and St Mark’s looked cosy and warm, offering welcome after a wet February day.  We sat around tables while Wendy, accompanied on the piano by Frances, led us on a musical tour of the Celtic parts of the British Isles, encouraging us to join in.

We started and ended in Scotland and en route we learned a little of the background to each song, though sometimes the origins are obscure. So we learned, for instance that the ‘low road’ in Loch Lomon (“O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road, And I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye,”) may refer to the tradition that the soul of a dead Scot who died abroad was taken back to rest in Scotland by a secret road; and that Bobby Shafto (a north-eastern song) was an 18th century politician who may well have dandled a baby or two in the hope of improving his reputation (“Bobby Shafto’s gettin’ a bairn/For to dangle on his arm”).

On the trip through Ireland among those we learned and sang about were young Mollie Malone, and an Irish émigré shocked by the fashions and attitudes of 19th-century London, writing back to his true love in a valley near the Mountains of Mourne. In Wales as well as singing along lustily to Land of My Fathers (and not a rugby ball in sight), we listened to Wendy sing beautiful songs including David of the White Rock and we were moved by All through the Night, before hurrying back to Scotland to join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne.

As well as the music, Wendy had provided a light Celtic supper of oatcakes, cheese, cheese and onion ‘sausages’, shortbread and Welsh cakes, which we enjoyed at the interval.

It was a happy, comforting and relaxing evening, an antidote to the February blues that can strike us. It also raised £200 in donations for the Kitty Milroy murals appeal through which we are planning to restore the rare and important murals in the chancel at St Mark’s.

Wendy is holding another musical evening at St Mark’s in May. This one will be a jazz evening in memory of her parents, renowned local journalists and historians Jean and Ted Parratt. It will take place at the church on May 4 from 7.30pm.  A light meal will be included but please bring your own drinks. The evening will also raise money for the Kitty Milroy murals,

Concert for Christian Aid and churches

The Blackwater Valley Wind Quintet are staging a concert of classical music in aid of Christian Aid and the Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale at St John’s Church, Hale, on Saturday, February 16, at 7.30pm.

There will be a varied programme which will include pieces by Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Schumann and Gordon Jacob, and alongside the Blackwater Valley Wind Quintet will be other local performers.

Tickets (£10, £8 concessions, to include refreshments) are available from 07730009317 or 07519740607 or by emailing g.weston321@btinternet.com. Tickets may be available at the door.

A Celtic Croodle

Everyone is invited to an old-fashioned Celtic singalong at St Mark’s on February 9 from 7.30pm.

The Celtic ‘Croodle’ will trace a journey in song through Scotland, the north-east of England, Ireland and Wales, led by Wendy Edwards, accompanied by Frances Whewell.

There will be a light Celtic supper (oatcakes, cheese, Welsh cakes and shortbread) – bring your own drinks.

To croodle means to snuggle together so come along to snuggle and sing with us, in aid of restoring the Kitty Milroy murals at St Mark’s. All donations gratefully received.

The Story that Matters Most

We are still early in the new year, still at the time when any new year’s resolutions are at least not a distant memory (the second Friday in January is said to be the one when most of us have given up on resolutions). What if one of our resolutions this year could be to follow Jesus more truly? What if we were able to respond to the question “is this the year we’ll walk in Your ways?” with a promise to do all we can?

That question is one asked in a carol which was sung at St Mark’s last month. It was in fact a world premiere of a carol by author, songworker and artist Ash Brockwell. The carol was ‘The Story that Matters Most’.

Just before we sang it, I told the congregation how I had come across it. Ash had shared it on Facebook because of his concern and compassion for a 17-year-old transgender boy, Eli, who had already attempted suicide twice, who had then been asked to leave his church. Ash asked: ‘How is it possible that we still have church leaders who can reject and hurt such a vulnerable young person and yet convince themselves they’re doing God’s work?’. I don’t know the answer to that, but the God I put my faith in is one who welcomes all and loves all and who asks us to walk in his ways and do the same. We dedicated the song to Eli and others like him.

The carol, sung to the tune of William Parry’s Jerusalem, is going to be part of our canon. The story of how Ash came to write it is recorded here.

And here are the words:

The Story that Matters Most

Two thousand years this story’s been told,
Two thousand years and still we sing:
The Magi came with spices and gold
To glorify the new-born king;
The stable bare, the angels there,
the humble shepherds gathered around…
To tell the story that mattered most,
The love and hope their hearts had found.

Two thousand years and still we’re the same,
Watching the flames of hatred burn,
The grief and fear still spread in Your name…
Beloved, will we ever learn?
I know Your only law is Love,
I’ll hold to what I know to be true,
Perhaps the story that matters most
Is one that starts with me and You?

I won’t let hatred tear me apart,
I will not yield to doubt and fear;
I’ll look within the core of my heart,
And find You always waiting here.
You know the truth of who I am:
Open my eyes and help me to see,
Until the story that matters most
Begins again with You and me.

Is this the year we’ll walk in Your ways?
Is this the year we’ll learn to lead,
And share Your truth through worship and praise,
But also thought and word and deed?
What leads to fear is never right,
what leads to Love can never be wrong;
We know the story that matters most
Is one in which we ALL belong.

 

 

Stella Wiseman