Having retiled the nave roof this year, more work needs to be done to St Peter & St Paul Church and its surroundings. In order to raise funds to retile the porch and create a new Garden of Remembrance in the churchyard (which will cost over £5000) members of the local congregation are organising a ‘William Byrd Festival’ next May to commemorate the village’s famous Elizabethan composer. The Festival will be held over two weekends at the church.
Leading the list of artists will be Richard Turbet, an expert in the life and work of William Byrd, and the Stondon Singers, a local Choir who since their formation in 1968 have specialised in the music of the renaissance composer and his contemporaries. Richard has chosen as his theme ‘William Byrd: His Essex Years’. The event will be given twice on Saturday 7 May: a matinee at 4.00pm and evening performance at 7.30pm.
Then on Saturday 14 May at 7.30pm, the Writtle Singers conducted by Christine Gwynn will give a concert of mainly Byrd’s music. Having heard the Writtle Singers perform an evening of words and music remembering the events of the Gunpowder Plot this will be an occasion not to miss.
Tickets for both events go on sale in early January priced £12.50 (children under 16, £6), from the William Byrd Festival, c/o Church Office, The Vicarage, Church Street, Blackmore, Ingatestone, Essex. CM4 0RN. (Cheques payable to “Stondon Massey PCC”. Please enclose SAE).
On the two Sundays, church services will also be on a Byrd theme. On 8 May at 9.00am Stondon Church will have a Book of Common Prayer Morning Service featuring recorded music by Byrd, with singing supported by the church music group, Jubilate. Then on 15 May, again at 9.00am (repeated at 11.00am at the Priory Church of St Laurence Blackmore), there will be a Service of the Top 10 Favourite Hymns, as voted by the people of our two parishes and beyond. Why? Because Byrd said that “Since singing is such a good thing, I wish every man would learne to sing”.
Welcome to our Festival blog
We are a small congregation who organised a highly successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011 to celebrate the life and work of the village's Elizabethan composer, William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623). In 2012 we played host to the world-famous choir The Cardinall's Musick under their director Andrew Carwood.
This website contains everything you need to know about William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey. The church is open for services, of course, and on the second Sunday afternoon in the month during the summer.