Welcome Message

A strong sense of community has always lain at the heart of the Charles Wood Festival & Summer School, from the cross-cultural nature of its committee, staff and singers to the venues and range of educational, devotional and performance events offered during the week.

The theme continues with the line-up of guest artists: prize-winning instrumentalists and singers in our Young Performers' Platforms; Sestina, our Opening Concert guest choir; and performers at the Singers' Concert all drawn from the local community.

Add to these workshop participants and observers, those attending the Lunchtime and Evening Concert series or broadcasts and services involving the Charles Wood Singers and it is clear that the Festival & Summer School closely integrates into the fabric of the community.

Over the years hundreds have graduated from the Charles Wood Singers to advance their musical careers further afield. We are fortunate the class of 2015 will benefit from the expert guidance of Artistic Director, Dr David Hill, assisted by Philip Scriven, Organist and Associate Conductor, and Judith Gannon, Assistant Conductor. International vocal coach Paul Farrington also makes a welcome return, with a Musical Theatre workshop added to his list.

Nowhere is our theme better illustrated than in the highlight of the week - Thursday evening's "Come and Sing" - absolutely unmissable for choir members or singers of all abilities. Guest conductor, John Rutter, has been described variously as 'a national treasure' and 'the most popular living choral composer in the world'. His avowed aim, to write music which can be shared and is not just for the chosen few, perfectly sums up this community event.

We hope people will come from far and wide to support him and make this a 'Really Big Come & Sing'! Please buy tickets soon, as booking has already got off to a brisk start! Online booking makes tickets available with just a few clicks or the form in this brochure can be used instead.

Other vocal treats include a lunchtime song recital by soprano, Aisling Kenny, and the Candlelight and Gala Concerts, featuring sensational French boy soprano, Eric le Rossignol, winner of France 2 Television's 'Prodigy' competition. Dr Ian Sharp, Executive President of the HSGBI, will lead the Festival of Hymns, so why not join him on Sunday afternoon?

We are again delighted to host the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition. Jury Chair, French organist Erwan Le Prado, will demonstrate his legendary skill in improvisation at the Opening Concert, while competitors can also be heard at Tuesday's Bach at Twilight. Music for Two Organs retains its early evening slot on Saturday.

I am confident this rich and varied programme will not disappoint. Please come along and be part of our vibrant community!

Roger Nesbitt