Our 2014 programme was bookended with music, starting with the supreme sophistication of Stringfever in January, and finishing with a gloriously enthusiastic festive community sing-along at the pub. We also had four films, The Rudes, a musical history lesson and some nature walks…
Stringfever – 26 January 2014
From the first arresting chord to the last dying note this was a performance of originality, musical skill and superb entertainment, not to
be forgotten by those of us lucky enough to be there. As a long time Crowhurst resident of forty years standing said to me “this is the best thing I have ever seen at the village hall.” And we have been showered with many similar plaudits from villagers.
Crowhurst Community Arts are delighted that we were able to bring this event to the village. We had originally only booked an evening performance, but tickets sold out so fast, we had to implore them to agree to a matinee.
None of this would have been possible without the contacts and foresight of Richard Holttum who made the original suggestion of Stringfever visiting us and made all the arrangements with the group.
– John Spall
How can one describe the Stringfever concert? The answer must be that the music was just pure brilliance and energy, with sparkling commentary and facial expressions included! The Broadbent family – yes, all members of the quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello) are members of one family – excelled with their modern five- or six-string skeletal-frame electric instruments, known as Violectras. These have no traditional sounding boards but instead wireless connection to speakers to yield a pure sound; their design was perfected some 20 years ago in Birmingham (by David Bruce Johnson), we were told. For our delight, the quartet started with the full-blooded attack of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and ranged across a wide field to the delicacy of Grigoras Dinicu’s The Lark. The cross-section of music included a medley of 20 films – we were invited to guess the titles; I recognised The Big Country and others but I was lost after 12 – also two adagios, by Samuel Barber and Tomaso Albinoni, as well as an American jazz piece (The Devil Went Down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels Band) with vocal contribution, and pop extracts. However, the highlight for me was when the quartet all played simultaneously on the one cello. This was extraordinary! At the same time, two volunteers from the audience, Jill Ferguson and Lorna Neville, were extracted to play one note each on Violectras as part of the finale! Would Antonio Stradivari and his family have been horrified or delighted at these late 20th century masterpieces of modern craftsmanship? There is no doubting the wonderful music that emanates from them and Stringfever’s versatility and fantastic talent. The performances were perfectly rounded off by musical set decorations created by Diane Stainsby and by delicious and unexpected nibbles provided by Katie Spall and her team.
– Article by Tim Knaggs originally printed in Crowhurst News March 2014
Dawn Chorus & Bluebell Walk – 27 April 2014
An early start in Forewood for gentle tip-toeing round the woods to listen to the Dawn Chorus and identify the participants, then a more leisurely stroll in the sunshine in the afternoon, with Quarry Wood’s warden leading the group and telling us everything you ever wanted to know about bluebells.
The Rudes – The Wife – 3 July 2014
Local cryptic-pseudonymous theatre critic, Ray Nard, reviewed The Rudes’ 2014 visit in the September Crowhurst News. We bring you a little extract here…
Lutes and Looting
The Wife contained all the staple Rudes components that their loyal Crowhurst audience have come to expect, a selection of slapstick sketches, colourful characters, tuneful music performed by the multi-skilled cast and a moral tale to bind it all together. The Rudes silliness was much appreciated, even when the actors picked their way through the audience, flirting, pocketing crisps and leaving a trail of white make up as they drank the contents of neglected wine glasses.
Despite this, the company’s raw energy and electric imagination still permeated their performance and left the Crowhurst audience uplifted, and hopefully funding and local support will be readily available so that we can see them again in our village in 2015.
– Ray Nard
Photography: Steve Barnes
Community Carols – 17 December 2014
The Arty Farty Chorus Group led a hearty cast of Plough singers, gently supping their mulled wine in between verses. Then a gorgeous gaggle of youngsters almost made us weep with their earnest performance of Twinkle, twinkle, theatrical arm gestures and twinkling fingers included.