Our Last Concert at the ABH

Our Last Concert at the ABH

Our first Touch of Basil was held in the Adrian Boult Hall of Birmingham Conservatoire in September 2000. We were told at that time that we were unlikely to be able to use ABH for too long in the future because it was to be replaced. The concert on September 26th 2015 will be the last concert in Paradise Square for certain. We have to say an enormous thank you to Birmingham Conservatoire for allowing us to use such a prestigious venue over the years. Over 1700 performers have taken part since 2000. They will have been inspired by Birmingham’s old Conservatoire; let us hope that further generations of young performers will similarly be inspired at the new venue in Eastside near Curzon Street Station, due to be completed in the summer of 2017. This year we have a wonderful line-up of performers to suit all tastes from rock through to newly composed pieces from the 21st century. Regular performers like Heart of England Singers and the Tom Walker Trio will be joined by winners of the Philip Bates performance prizes at John Willmott and Bishop Vesey’s schools and winners of the Ashleyan Opera and Philip Bates composing prizes at Birmingham Conservatoire. We are delighted that Ex Cathedra Academies of Vocal Music are able to join us again and particularly welcome for the first time the Coventry Corps of Drums directed by Myles Nottingham. So please join us for the last concert at Paradise Circus. Martin...
Newsletter Mailout 2015

Newsletter Mailout 2015

Have you ever wondered how your newsletter gets produced and sent to you? Well here’s where it all happens – the Action Committee and friends spend a busy few hours folding and stuffing the newsletters and any flyers into envelopes which then have to have an address sticker and stamp applied by hand. The newsletter stuffing evening is now a feature of the Trust calender, and saves us an enormous amount of money compared with using a commercial service. It’s also a great excuse to eat lots of cake and have a good...
Composition Prize 2014

Composition Prize 2014

On 14th November 2014 Tony and I enjoyed an evening of varied music when we attended the Philip Bates Prize for Composers and Songwriters at Birmingham Conservatoire. The first piece was “Me faytz trobar” by William Cole. Unfortunately, because the date for the event was set quite late by the Conservatoire, the performers, The Hermes Experiment, already had a prior engagement so a high quality video recording was used instead, although William himself did attend. The title means, ‘You make me write songs’. The opening was very striking – making me jump! The soprano soloist had an amazing voice and began the piece very powerfully. The tune moved very smoothly between the performers, consisting of a soprano, clarinet, harp and double bass and each section contrasted the others. The composition was extremely well performed – I enjoyed it very much and it did win the Philip Bates Trust Prize. The next piece “Little secret” was a complete contrast. It was beautifully performed by the composer, Ami Opranova, accompanied by an accomplished jazz pianist, with bass and drums. Because it was extremely well improvised it was difficult to know how much was actually written down. Nevertheless it was a very enjoyable piece. This was followed by “Things are not the same” by Patrick Ellis, written for bass voice and a saxophone quartet. It was a very melancholy piece and although it was extremely well performed I felt that, contrary to the title, it was ‘very much the same!’ It did win the audience prize indicating that a number of people thought differently. The final piece, “Sop two, twice – cool...

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