The Broadstone Music Series
Jackie Richmond explains how the Poole Society for Young Musicians and their regular concerts came into being
Published in October ’12
It was a love of music and musicianship, combined with a wish that talent and learning should not be wasted, that encouraged a group of friends and acquaintances together to bring classical music to their local community. After running a local youth orchestra, Poole Young People’s Concert Orchestra (PYPCO), for a couple of seasons with former Poole Grammar head of music, Richard Holt, and putting on a number of concerts each year and a short tour to Cherbourg, the committee realised that to ‘orchestrate’ a large number of musicians each week was becoming too difficult. They relied heavily on pupils returning from university and music colleges to put on concerts and it began to become more about herding people than music.
With much regret it was decided to disband PYPCO, but the committee decided that the profit left over from the youth orchestra concerts should be invested in giving some of the young musicians that had been involved an opportunity to perform. At first, a couple of concerts were arranged to see if it was possible for the organisation to put on a sustainable programme of concerts. Pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of the local community and turnout for the concerts, the organisation was reborn, with a slightly larger committee, as the Poole Society for Young Musicians (PSYM) and the Broadstone Music Series (BMS) was born in 2011.
The expanded committee consists of the Chairman, Martin Casey, Nicky Nicholas (treasurer), Peter Banks (the ‘young representative’), Jim and Margaret Tudor (publicity), Helen Tate (PR), Jenni Curiel (artistic adviser) and the Artistic Director, Alison Kay. Rather splendidly there is a ‘caterer-for-cakes’ committee position, which is filled by Debra Adam. According to one committee member, it is the ‘dedication of Alison that gets young people playing in these series; she spends a lot of time coaxing and coaching, finding and organising the music and rehearsal time for concerts for her students and others. She always is full of ideas, experienced insight and her enthusiasm is infectious; it is this that I think we all hope will be a skill that is passed on to the next generation – to be giving of time and musical talent so that others may benefit.’
The committee itself is a real mixed bag: professional and amateur musicians and non-musicians, but all lovers of music who bring experience and expertise from various backgrounds to organise and to promote the concert series.
The BMS aims to provide performance opportunities for local young, aspiring professional classical musicians; to encourage experienced musicians to share their wealth of knowledge both of music and the music profession with student musicians and young professionals; to enable students to extend and widen their knowledge of their instrument and explore other musical genres through masterclasses; to bring high quality classical music to the local community in an accessible setting at a reasonable price and to widen public knowledge and appreciation of music.
To date the BMS has put on ten concerts and one masterclass in the local area. These featured the talents of rising music professionals, sometimes individually, but often alongside seasoned professionals from renowned organisations like the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (with whom the PSYM is now affiliated), the Gabrieli consort and the Royal Academy Of Music.
The Sunday afternoon concerts (complete with cake and cuppa) have become a regular fixture in the series programme; they provide wonderful music, delicious cake, the chance to catch up with friends and the chance to share insights with young musicians. Although Broadstone is credited in the name, musicians from surrounding Colehill, Wimborne and further afield have featured, and other venues have been included, with the series branching out as far as St Peter’s in Bournemouth – to showcase the talent of their young organist, Sam Hanson, and a Music be the Food of Love violin and piano recital at Wimborne Minster, to coincide with the Wimborne Food festival.
Royal Academy of Music graduate Helen Nicholas, who is starting a two-year contract with the Royal Ballet, is one young professional who has benefitted from performing in the BMS: ‘It is tremendously important as a young musician just starting out to have a performance platform,’ Helen says, adding: ‘It is through public performance that musicians grow and hone their skills, develop in confidence and build a rapport with the audience. Being able to come back to play in your home town is extra special, especially having the opportunity to play with already successful professional musicians.’
‘To date the BMS has used primarily Broadstone United Reformed Church for its concerts,’ says Martin Casey. ‘It had been hosting end of term concerts for local music teachers for a number of years. Broadstone Methodist, St John’s and St Nicholas, Corfe Mullen have also offered their spaces for concerts. This last venue has graciously agreed to house a Blüthner piano loaned to the Broadstone Music Series by Jon Thorne, previously of the BSO.’
The last concert of this year’s series takes place at St Nicholas, Corfe Mullen at 4.00 on Sunday 7 October. It is a fundraising gala concert featuring two BMS committee members – Alison Kay (ex-BSO and now a freelance musician and teacher) and Jenni Curiel (violinist with the BSO) – and other BSO players, along with Helen Nicholas at the Blüthner piano. The programme is Schubert’s Trout Quintet and Brahms Piano Quartet in C minor,… and cake!
Plans for the 2013 series are already well advanced, with more Sunday ‘Concert and Cake’ afternoons in store, as well as bringing evening recitals, workshops and masterclasses to Broadstone; a brass and a viola masterclass are already in the diary. BMS held its first masterclass for young musicians this year; fourteen young people spent a day under the tuition of Catherine Martin, expert in Baroque music and leader of the Gabrieli Consort & Players.
The BMS is also considering holding a fund-raising vintage garden party; the BMS has charitable status and receives no funding other than that raised from concerts over the season. The BMS would, of course, welcome donations or sponsorship of the series or a concert, and ultimately, would like to see a full-blown Broadstone Music Festival.
• Full details of the 7 October Corfe Mullen concert and the BMS in general can be found online at www.broadstonemusicseries.info or by calling 01202 602336/695773.