Music Circle & Choral Society

The "Music Circle" was founded by David A.H. Yates in 1962, initially as a record appreciation and concert going Society, but within a year, it had extended its activities to include a Choral Society. This newly formed Choir gave its first concert on Ascension Day, 1964 - a performance of Handel’s Messiah in St Mary’s Church, Rolleston. Since that time the Choir has given over 100 concerts in the locality.

As the organisation grew in staure, it was able to promote a series of eight biennial Rolleston Music Festivals between 1966 and 1980. With grant aid provided by both West Midlands and East Midlands Arts Councils and support from the BBC, the Society successfully presented professional artists in Rolleston, some of whom were of international standing, and the Concerts attracted audiences from a wide area.

Due credit must be given to all those who were involved in the considerable task of planning and organising the Festivals, and in particular David Yates in his dual role as Conductor and Festival Administrator. He had the vision, saw the opportunity, and put Rolleston on the "musical map". The village basked in the success of this ambitious venture, echoes of which remain today.

Sadly, force of circumstances necessitated the termination of the Society’s concert promotions, but by then it had been shown what a small Society, with enthusiastic and dedicated members could achieve.

Some of the artists who appeared in the eight Music Festivals are listed below.

Sydney Harrison, Stephen Bishop, Frank Wibaut, Peter Katin, Hartley Mallinson, Diana Kasco, Andre Tchaikovsky

Organists & Harpsichordists
Francis Jackson, Chris Daly Atkinson, Alan Cuckson, Neville Dilkes, Peter Hurford, Hartley Mallinson

Gerald Davies, Kenneth Tudor, Nigel Rogers, Ann Dowdall, Elizabeth Cox, Wendy MacPherson, John Taylor, David Middleton, John Heddle Nash

Group Singers
The Northern Consort, London Opera Group, The Linden Singers, Gresley Male Voice Choir, The Scholars, Steeton Male Glee Union

Raymond Cohen (violin), David Cowshill (oboe), Ifor James (horn), James Blades (percussion)

Chamber Music Ensembles
Chilingirian String Quartet, Lindsay String Quartet, Dove Chamber Group, Gabrielli Ensemble, English String Quartet

Kenny Ball & his Jazzmen, Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Alex Walsh & his Band, Terry Lightfoot & his Band

Dorita e Pepe, Royal Shakespeare Company, Cy Grant, Juan Martin Flamenco, Donald Swann, Sidney Carter, Cyril Fletcher, Shropshire Theatre

Brass Ensembles
Foden Motorworks Band, London Gabrielli Brass, Carlton Main Frickley Band, Besses o’th’ Barn Band, Webb Ivory Band, Cresswell Colliery Band

Derby Concert Orchestra, Midland Sinfonia, English sinfonia, Orchestra Da Camera, Handelian Orchestra, Stafford County Orchestra, Rolleston Festival Orchestra

In addition to the Rolleston Festivals, the Society, under the Chairmanship of Alan Woodbine, presented four consecutive seasons of "Subscription Concerts" held at the former Forest of Needwood High School, in the years 1976 - 1980. These concerts provided autumn and winter entertainment, and were very popular. It was the loss of the school as a venue which brought them to a conclusion.

Some of the artists who appeared in these four winter seasons of concerts are listed below.

Frank Wibaut, Kenneth van Barthold, Peter Katin, Iain Brown, Anthony Hopkins, Myung Whun Chung, Anthony Goldstone, Hartley Mallinson, Allan Schiller, Bernard Roberts, Christine Jones

John Giorgiadis (violin), Julian Byzantine (guitar), James Blades (percussion), Alexander Batre (cello), Tessa Uys (piano)

Chamber Music Ensembles
Medici String Quartet, Trio Zingara, Lydian String Quartet

Phoenix Stage Band, Foden Motorworks Band, Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

John Heddle Nash, Richard Jackson

The Society, which is a registered charity continues to flourish, with new members joining each year, and a full programme of concerts is planned for the year 2000 and beyond.

Alan Partington, Chairman

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© This site was created by Richard Bush

Last updated: 5 April 2000