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Concert at St John the Evangelist
12th October at 7:00 pm
The Ensemble of Friends
Saturday 12th October at 7.00pm
Tickets £5 on the door, or via firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ENSEMBLE OF FRIENDS
The Ensemble of Friends, based in Potton, a small market town in Bedfordshire, England, was formed just six years ago when some members of Shannon Express, a well-known Bedfordshire Barbershop chorus approached Douglas Coombes and asked him if he had the time to start an a cappella chamber choir to sing a wide variety of music. The result was The Ensemble of Friends made up mainly, but not exclusively, of members of two choirs in Bedfordshire – Shannon Express and The Amici Singers, a women’s choir conducted by Douglas. From tonight’s programme you will see that the Ensemble does indeed have a wide and eclectic repertoire. During the short time of its existence, the ensemble has performed a variety of concerts including performances at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel, London .Westminster and Southwark Cathedrals (London), as well as a number of concerts in schools as part of the Ensemble’s outreach policy. Last October the Ensemble made their first oversea tour when they gave a number of concerts in Eastern Germany, based in the medieval town of Quedlinburg. This tour was arranged by the Rotary clubs of Sandy, Beds and Quedlinburg. Last Christmas they again performed at Southwark Cathedral for Barnardo’s. This year, in Februar, the Ensemble made a return visit to Homerton Collge (Cambridge University) to take part in a Conducting Workshop in which they were conducted by a number of students under the guidance of Douglas.
All enquiries – Email: email@example.com Tel no: (+44) (0)1767
TREVOR HUGHES (Piano/Organ)
Trevor Hughes, who is the new President of the Amici Singers, is a Graduate of the Royal College of Music, London, (where he studied organ, piano, and viola), winning the Colles Prize, and an Associate of the Royal College of Organists, winning the Doris Wookey Prize. He has performed on the organs in Birmingham Symphony Hall, Leeds Town Hall, the Central Methodist Hall, Westminster Cathedral, the Royal Albert Hall, St. John’s, Smith Square, London, and on the cathedral organs in St. Asaph, Ely, Norwich, and Canterbury. He has also performed on major organs in America, France (including Rouen Cathedral), Belgium (Ghent Cathedral), Austria (including Salzburg Dom Cathedral), and Germany (including the Elisabethkirche, and University Church, both in Marburg, and the Thomaskirche (Bach’s Church) in Leipzig). His long experience in the field of church music continues in his present position as Director of Music at Holy Saviour Church in Hitchin Hertfordshire.) In 2003 he led the Church Choir in a concert tour of Barbados where it performed four concerts and broadcast both on Caribbean Radio and television. He has accompanied recitals in the Purcell Room, the Wigmore Hall, and on BBC Radio 3, as well as in many music clubs over the country, and for over ten years he contributed regularly to BBC Schools Radio music programmes, as keyboards player, musical director, and arranger. He has also made a number of educational recordings for Lindsay Music, and Faber Music.
Equally at home in a wide range of musical styles, Trevor has conducted many musicals in the theatre, and he has also played keyboards in a number of West End shows. His freelance work as both accompanist and choral conductor has taken him on numerous trips to the USA, as well as to Austria, Germany, France, Switzerland, and Holland. His other musical work with children has encompassed teaching piano, organ, and theory, and adjudicating music festivals, both at home (including venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, and the Barbican), and abroad (including Hong Kong). Since 2009, Trevor has established an exciting duo partnership with the recorder player James Risdon that has seen them perform in venues as diverse as the Handel House Museum, Anglesey Abbey and St. Martin-in-the-Fields. He is a widely respected adjudicator – and is nuts about trains and classic cars!
DOUGLAS COOMBES MBE Conductor
Douglas Coombes studied music at St Paul’s College, Cheltenham and at Dartington Hall, Devon where he was a composition pupil of Richard Hall. He also received some inspiring conducting lessons from Imogen Holst, the daughter of the composer Gustav Holst. However, from an early age in his home city of Bristol, he will always be indebted to his private piano teacher, Horace Paull, who opened his eyes and ears to so much music and was the first to encourage his compositions.
For 20 years, Douglas was a music producer, writer and broadcaster for BBC Education working mainly on two popular programmes – Time and Tune and Singing Together – which reached over 2,000,000 young people weekly. He also arranged all the hymns for Come and Praise Book 1 which is still used by the majority of schools throughout the UK. When he left the BBC in 1988 he arranged two more BBC hymn books – Come and Praise 2 and Come and Praise Beginnings for which he composed over 50 hymn tunes.
In 1988 he left the BBC to devote more time to composing and conducting. He immediately founded The New English Concert Orchestra, a professional orchestra, which originally was formed to give family and children’s concert throughout the UK. However the work expanded and in 1997 the orchestra was booked for the first Battle Proms concerts and has been the orchestra of these proms ever since. These summer concerts take place in the grounds of stately homes of the UK. The main feature of these concerts is the performance of Beethoven’s Battle Symphony as the composer intended, namely with 193 cannons and mortars and with muskets. In August last year the orchestra played their 100th concert; Douglas has conducted every Battle Proms Concert since they began and he is now thought to have conducted Beethoven’s Battle Symphony more times than anyone else in music history.
Douglas is a prolific composer and amongst his compositions are two concertos one for clarinet and organ and the other for oboe. Other compositions include five masses, a requiem, an Easter Oratorio, two symphonies, two ballets, orchestral and chamber music, church music and music for children.
His work has taken him abroad to many European countries, Hong Kong, South Korea, the USA and throughout Europe. He has conducted a number of the leading UK orchestras and has conducted and led concerts for Barnardo’s, a leading UK children’s charity in many cathedrals and concert halls throughout England. He is also the Chairman of Adjudicators for the Barnardo’s National Choir Competition.
For ten years Douglas was the music consultant and music director of BBC’s Songs of Praise School Choir of the Year Competition. He is one of the Patrons of the British Kodaly Academy and recently was one of the conductors celebrating 50 years of the Academy in the UK in a concert at St. John’s Smith Square, London. He has also accompanied his wife, the soprano Carole Lindsay-Douglas, in many recitals in the UK and abroad.
In October 2008 he was made an honorary life member of the Schools Music Association of Great Britain for services to music in education. In November 2010 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by Gloucester University, and in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list of June 2012 he was awarded the MBE for services to music. He was presented with the award in December 2012 by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.
In November 2013 he conducted, in the Royal Albert Hall, London, the largest ever ocarina ensemble of 3081 players in his composition written for the occasion Ode to a Joyful New Star, thus beating the previous record held by a Chinese ensemble of 831. This new world record was verified by the Guinness Book of World Records.
From January to June this year he directED the Homerton Charter Choir (Cambridge University) while the regular conductor is on a sabbatical.
For a hobby he conducts two choirs The Amici Singers and The Ensemble of Friends and when he has the time he enjoys watching two games that he once played, rugby and cricket, the latter he once considered playing professionally – but music won!