Our conductor looks back over the previous musical year

Annual Report 2016

2016 was another successful year for the Music Makers. Membership currently fluctuates between 50 and 60 covering all ages and abilities. We have welcomed a number of new string players but are still on the lookout for brass; as in past years due to a shortage of resident brass players we have frequently had to call on outside support for concerts. Amongst our talented members, Sam Carr stands out as a brilliant pianist and multi-percussionist who has enhanced our concerts with his skillful and musical playing; we offer him and all our other soloists our congratulations and thanks. And once again we pay tribute to our resident composer John Pell, always present at our rehearsals with help and advice, and working tirelessly throughout the year to provide us with new, interesting and highly successful compositions. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

Our thanks also go to the council and officers of the United Reformed Church for the use of their facilities for our rehearsals throughout the year and for hosting our end of year concert and Christmas party.

Our April concert this year took place at St Paul’s Canterbury in memory of viola player Su’ Rennison, raising a massive £2045.74 for the Pilgrim’s Hospice. John Rennison played solo cello in John Pell’s “Reverie” and Sam Carr performed the Andante from Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21. Other music included Elgar, Schubert, Sullivan, Byrd, Warlock’s Capriol Suite, and the concert was rounded off in cheerful mood by The Sound of Music. Our trumpeter Ian Roberts arranged a recording on CD of the entire performance.

With summer approaching and a request from the charity “Operation Sunshine”, our next concert at St Paul’s Sandgate was aptly titled: “Sunshine at Sandgate”. On a theme of light English and American music, the performance included Royal Marches by Jeremiah Clarke, English Folk Songs and Shakespeare Sketches by Vaughan Williams, Negro Spirituals by John Gaw and a number of jolly pieces by Leroy Anderson. John Pell astounded us all by producing three brand new compositions, Summer’s Lease, Rosie’s Garden and Dartford Portraits; and Paul Hillier, together with talented grandson George, played a series of 5 delightful violin duets by Shostakovich. All in all, a most enjoyable summer evening!

The annual Christmas concert at our host church St Andrew’s URC Canterbury comprised works by Haydn, Stravinsky, Verdi, Dvořák, together with Christmas favourites by Holst and Gruber. An unusual feature was a stunning dance specially choreographed and performed by 3 lovely Canterbury dance students to accompany Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Proceeds of the concert went to St Andrew’s link church in Kenya, Dundoori Church.

At our Christmas party on December 5th attended by members and their family and friends, with Glynis McKenzie as compère, members provided solo and group musical offerings, accompanied by wine and festive goodies. Our thanks go to Sue Mullaley for organizing the catering.

We look forward to further fun and music-making in 2017.