St.Stephen's have held popular popular concerts over many years, and play an important part  in fund raising. Unfortunately photographs of many do not exist, but for some Programmes do....



Summer Concert at St.Stephen’s-Saturday 12 June-From the Joint Parish Magazine July 2004

A couple of years have passed since the last fund-raising concert was held. Once again sponsored by the Parochial Church Council, it was organised and compered  by Steve Weller.

Despite the magnificent weather, and Russia being billed to play Spain on the first day of the European Cup (that’s means football on telly), the reputation of these concerts is such that half an hour before the concert was due to began, a long queue eagerly awaited the opening of the church doors.

The church was packed by the time the entertainment was due to start, with extra chairs placed in the aisle, raising some much needed £368 for St Stephen’s .

The concert owes its success, I am sure, not only to the talent of the performers, which is prodigious, but the fact that so many of them live in or near the communities of Winsham and Thorncombe, and those that don’t come from not far away, and are there because they have links of friendship.

South Somerset Junior Choir got the evening off to a good start with an enthusiastic rendering of two songs, ’Captain Noah and his Floating Zoo’ and without accompaniment, ’One fine morning when my life is o’er’. The response from the audience was tremendous, and set the mood for the evening. The next item was in sharp contrast-Tim Appleyard played ‘In Dolce Jubilato’ by J.S.Bach, on the church organ.

 Stella Abbey and Roger Barrett then gave two readings on subjects not normally associated with having an enjoyable evening.  ‘ I wish I had looked after my teeth’ by Pam Ayres was Stella’s contribution, followed by Roger who related ‘The Nightmare’-the lyrics of a patter –song written by W.S.Gilbert for ‘Iolanthe’

Andy Olver and Stuart Brown, two local musicians then delighted everybody with three short and lively folk pieces on the mandolin and guitar, which immediately got everybody’s toes tapping.

Once again the mood changed when Phil Slater played  ‘Fur Elise’ on the piano, including the difficult bit in the middle, with his customary aplomb. Phil’s skill on the piano would be used later in the concert as well, but more of that later.

At this point I began to regret that I had forgotten how hard church pews could be, and that I should have remembered to bring a cushion. The thought was immediately dismissed when Steve Weller announces a solo by his youngest daughter Lucy. She sang very well the ever popular  ‘Memory’ from ‘Cats’, and was rewarded with tremendous response from the audience.

The first half of the concert was ended with a performance of Vivaldi’s Double Violin Concerto in A minor by Alison Morris and Holly Chapman , accompanied by Phil Slater . All enjoyed this accessible and tuneful piece.

The twenty minutes break that followed gave the opportunity for the blood to return  to those parts of the body never mentioned in polite society.

The South Somerset Junior Choir started the second half with an arrangement of two American traditional songs, followed by Tim Appleyard’s rendition of Nimrod from Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations’.

Lucy Weller & Tom Hamill then sang a medley from The ‘Lion King’, a lively and enthusiastic performance that was very well received.

Stella Abbey then read a poem of her own, ‘Bedtime Story’, a serious, short piece that

reflected the ‘foot & mouth’ disaster of a short while ago. It’s impact was not lost on a community so closely linked to farming and the countryside.Roger Barrett and Stella then performed the ever popular monologue (is it still a monologue when two people perform it?)-‘The Lion and Albert’.

Then, for me, one of the highlights of the evening, Steve Weller’s eldest daughter, Rachel, playing as a Flute solo, ’Fantasia Para Un Gentilhombre’, by Rodrigo, accompanied at the piano by Lynn Cunningham. I think that the acoustics and size of St Stephens add an additional dimension to the sound of the flute, and the effect was magical.

Sadly, the evening was drawing to a close. Alison Appleyard, who has a beautiful voice gave the last solo, singing the ‘Domine Deus’ from The Gloria by Vivaldi, and the waltz by Zeller,  ‘Don’t be cross’ .This will be the last time that Alison and  Tim will be playing for us ,as they are soon to move to Yorkshire.  They will be greatly missed.

Rev Ernie Chivers was then called upon to say a few words. After thanking everybody for all their efforts, and the money raised, he sent us off to the sound of the Junior choir singing ‘Rainy Day’, with the admonition to ‘…. thank God for all the hard work and talent in our community’.

Well done ,everyone. 




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