Help wanted for launch of new music festival

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VOLUNTEER trustees are needed for the launch of a new music festival, The South Downs Musical Trail.

The concerts (scheduled for Spring/Summer 2013) are intended to celebrate the splendour of the South Downs, while highlighting environmental issues and involving a large proportion of the community.

The performances will take place at various locations, spanning from Winchester in the West to Eastbourne in the East.

The instigator of the festival is Rudi Eastwood, founder and director of the St Petersburg British Music Festival in Russia.

Rudi said: “There exists a wonderful treasure trove of artistic material as a source of exploration across the South Downs: giants, the devil, dragons and serpents, buried treasure and fairies all feature predominantly and legends abound with folktales associated with specific places. This is a great inspirational reserve for any composer and the festival hopes to commission many new works in the future years

“Several well-known composers have lived in the area, including John Ireland, Edward Elgar, Arnold Bax and Frank Bridge. It has been suggested that William Blake had the South Downs in mind when he wrote of England’s Mountains Green and Sir Hubert Parry’s famous musical setting was concocted in Felpham, not far away.

“Perhaps more than any other composer, John Ireland found inspiration for his music in the Sussex countryside. Most famously, the Legend for piano and orchestra was inspired by an early morning picnic on Harrow Hill. Just as Ireland was about to start eating, he noticed some children dancing silently around him in white, archaic clothing. He was a little put out about having his peace invaded by children; he looked away for a moment, when he looked back they had disappeared. Eerily, the area is the site of Neolithic flint mines, an Iron Age enclosure and a medieval leper’s colony.”

In addition to commissioning new works, the festival will provide opportunities for children to get involved and perform alongside professional musicians

“Poetry and art competitions will be launched as an offshoot to the musical celebrations; poems will be set to music; instruments will be constructed out of natural materials found within the South Downs; artwork will be exhibited and children will sing in mass choirs! Students will also learn about the region’s cultural heritage and come face to face with environmental issues, whilst partaking in projects that endeavour to conserve and enhance the natural beauty and wildlife of the South Downs.”

Rudi added: “Potential trustees must be passionate about music, art and nature! Previous work experience in this field is desirable, but not essential. If you are enticed by the project and would like to become a trustee, please write to britishmusicfest@gmail.com, including an introduction letter and CV.”