A musical marriage
Couple combine forces for concerts with Cecilia Consort and NSO
Classic FM ‘Hall of Fame’ composer and author Fiona Bennett and her trumpet-playing husband John Heritage have a busy month. “On Saturday, we’ll be singing with the Cecilia Consort at Douai Abbey,” says Fiona, “and the following Saturday, we’ll both be playing trumpet in our first concert with Newbury Symphony Orchestra at St Nics' Church.”
Fiona and John first met in 1980 at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. John remembers meeting his eighteen-year-old future wife for the very first time. “Fiona was standing in the foyer, wearing denim dungarees and yellow Kickers boots. She was carrying her trumpet so I went over and asked who her teacher was. We both studied with Horace Barker and world famous baroque trumpeter, Crispian Steele-Perkins and we were thrilled to receive a ‘Congratulations’ e-mail from Crispian on our wedding day in July 2015.”
“I hadn’t seen John since 1982” says Fiona, “he left college that summer and was appointed Head of Brass instrumental teaching at Pangbourne College shortly afterwards. We made contact on Facebook last year, arranged to meet up in April and were married at Shaw House just three months later.”
Cecilia Consort's musical director Janet Coxwell also studied at the Guildhall; she and John were in the same year group. She was delighted to hear he was moving back to his home town last year and invited him to join the choir immediately. “There is a wealth of musical activity in Newbury,” says Fiona, “and we’re so lucky to be able to sing with one of the town’s best-loved choirs as well as play in the orchestra.”
Cecilia Consort will perform music by, among others, Howells, Howard Goodall and Cardoso and the Newbury Symphony Orchestra’s programme consists of Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms’ mighty Symphony No. 1.