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.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

William Byrd Festival: "William Byrd: His Essex Years"

Curtain Up! (if we had one) on the William Byrd Festival. This is the first performance (of two) of “William Byrd: His Essex Years”.


The Stondon Singers were formed in 1968 originally to perform the music of William Byrd at Stondon Massey, where he spent the last thirty years of his life. The annual William Byrd Memorial Concert has been a highlight of their performing schedule ever since, taking place on the first Tuesday in July.

Whilst the works of Byrd and his contemporaries remain at the core of their repertoire, the Singers perform a wide and varied range of music. In recent years this has included performances of Bach’s St John Passion, Monteverdi’s Vespers 1610 and Fauré’s Requiem as well as concerts with madrigals and music of the present era, and their accompanists have ranged from Baroque ensembles to jazz trios.

The Stondon Singers have performed in many venues, including our two local cathedrals, Brentwood and Chelmsford, and also those in Southwark and Bury St Edmunds. Other memorable occasions include mass at St Paul’s Knightsbridge and a Handel concert as part of the Chelmsford Festival.

The Stondon Singers are resident in the atmospheric Priory Church of St Laurence, Blackmore.

Sopranos: Katharine Adams, Michelle Arthur, Jenny Evans, Mavis Holmes, Catherine Kelly, Julie Lorkins, Annabel Malton, Faith Marchal, Karen Mortley, Mary Seckleman, Sally Walker

Altos: Mavis Brown, Audrey Cassidy, Julia Dimon, Jill Evans, Josephine Gordon, Marjolein Hillman

Tenors: Matthew Butt, David Hampson, Alan Haward, David Lloyd, John Waggett

Basses: Michael Aves, David Evans, Phil Holmes, Chris Overy, David Schacht, Derek Taggart

Conductor: Christopher Tinker

Christopher Tinker was educated at the Royal College of Music with studies in organ (Ralph Downes), composition and conducting (Denys Darlow). Postgraduate studies were undertaken at Durham, and later at Lancaster University from where he obtained a Doctorate in music. Following his first post as Organist to The King’s School, Canterbury, he has held positions as Director of Music at a number of schools and colleges both in the UK and overseas, whilst sustaining a broad portfolio as a freelance musician.

His conducting career, embracing amateur and professional fields, has taken him throughout Britain, to many parts of Europe and also to Japan. He has worked with such ensembles as the London Mozart Players, Ulverston Choral Society, Aldeburgh Music Club, Pietermaritzburg Philharmonic Society, Haffner Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Lakeland Singers. He directs the music at St Margaret’s Church, Ipswich, and the concerts season of the Ipswich G&S Society. He is a composer, and his works include choral and instrumental music and a children’s opera. He is currently collaborating with the South African poet, Moira Lovell.

Following a move from London to Ipswich in 2003, an area with which he has a long association through the Aldeburgh Festival, he has been involved with Imogen Holst’s Centenary, including contributions to the book Imogen Holst – A Life in Music (Boydell and Brewer 2007) and a series of lecture recitals at such establishments as the Royal College of Music, Dartington College of Arts and the Holst Birthplace Museum. This also resulted in the production of a CD of Imogen Holst’s string music which won the premier award 2010 from the BBC Music Magazine.

Richard Turbet. Richard is a leading authority on William Byrd, having written or edited over one hundred published works about the composer and related subjects. Richard has given talks at several universities in Britain and the USA, and at the William Byrd Festival in Portland, Oregon, and edited its tenth anniversary commemorative book. He has contributed to the Grove and to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and is currently compiling the third edition of his book, “William Byrd. A Guide to Research”.

Richard is a retired librarian from the University of Aberdeen where latterly he was Special Collections Cataloguer and subject specialist for Music. For fifteen years he was a cathedral lay clerk.

We are especially grateful to Richard for giving his time in support of St Peter & St Paul Church. He will be giving the address at the Book of Common Prayer: Matins service tomorrow morning at 9.00am.

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