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Lockdown forces Newbury musician to re-think future of jumping on planes to perform

Professional violinist forms Burghclere Baroque to keep it local

Trish Lee

Trish Lee

trish.lee@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886663

Theresa Caudle

PROFESSIONAL violinist Theresa Caudle specialises in playing baroque music on period instruments (often referred to as Historically Informed Performance or HIP) and has lived in Burghclere for nearly 20 years. Musicians have been hit very hard by the pandemic restrictions, with almost all their performing work cancelled since March and with a pretty bleak outlook for any significant resumption in the coming months. Many have fallen through the cracks in the Government’s schemes and haven’t received any financial help at all.

While Theresa says she’s lucky not to fall into that category: “I find myself fighting the apathy and torpor that tends to accompany the uncertainties and anxieties that we are all facing at the moment.

“I know I’m not alone in finding it hard to sustain the energy to work
constructively when there is so little to work towards.

“But there have been, for me at least, positive aspects of this enforced slowing-down, one of which is having more time at home. Lucky enough to live in this beautiful village, amidst stunning countryside, the past months have persuaded me of the benefits of staying closer to home and not spending so much time rushing around the country, not to mention jumping on aeroplanes to perform around the world.

“And the benefits are not just to me on a personal level – we are all being forced to look long and hard at the way we work and the ecological impact of travel on the environment.”

With all this in mind she decided over the summer to create a new organisation, Burghclere Baroque, which will promote both the study and performance of baroque music in Burghclere.

She is already holding Chamber Music Days at her own house, coaching small ensembles in the art of baroque performance practice and hopes soon to run workshops for orchestral playing, which will be held in The Portal Hall.

“Above all, I want to bring to the village performances of some of the music I love and around which my whole life has centred, so I’m planning to start a series of regular concerts.

“Just as musicians themselves have lost the life-blood of giving performances in recent months, I think that audiences are crying out for live music-making.

“And when it is so difficult for large-scale performances to take place, what better time than to start something small-scale and local, where people from the village and surrounding area will not have to travel far to hear great music performed by renowned specialists in their field?”
The Church of the Ascension is a marvellous venue for music, with plenty of performance space, especially now that the front pews are on castors and can be rolled to one side so easily and perfect acoustics, so this will be the main base for the concerts.

“I direct my own ensemble, Canzona, and although many of the concerts will be with this group, my plan is also to invite other ensembles, giving precedence to the many wonderful professional musicians who live in Hampshire, Berkshire and neighbouring counties.”

The first concert will be The Spirit of Christmas on Friday, December 18, at 7pm in The Church of the Ascension, Burghclere. It is a programme of baroque Christmas masterpieces, including Christmas Concertos by Corelli and Torelli, a beautiful aria from Bach’s Christmas cantata BWV 133, arias from Messiah, and the Cantata Pastorale by Scarlatti. The players of Canzona on strings and
harpsichord will be joined by soprano Philippa Hyde.
“We are very much hoping that Covid restrictions don’t increase and that a small, socially-distanced audience will be allowed. In case that isn’t possible and in order to reach a much wider audience, we will be filming the concert and streaming it on YouTube from December 21.
“Every precaution will be taken to make the event as Covid-safe as
possible; performers and audience will be socially-distanced, entrance and exits will be carefully managed, hand sanitiser will be provided and you are asked to wear face-coverings unless exempt. In order to minimise mingling, there will be no interval and the programme will last just over an hour.
Theresa is very keen that the concerts will be accessible to all, regardless of financial circumstances, so as an
experiment on this occasion, she suggests a sliding-scale ticket price on a voluntary basis where you choose to pay anything from £5 to £25 for a seat.
This will not affect where in the church you sit; places will be allocated on the basis of the most effective social distancing between groups or families. Under-18s will have free entrance although on this occasion, given that audience numbers will have to be so limited, only one young person per adult can be admitted on this basis. Booking is now open. In the event that a live audience is not allowed, tickets will be refunded in full.
“Concerts such as this, with
professional performers, are not cheap to put on. With a potentially tiny
audience, ticket sales do not begin to cover the cost. I have received a large number of very generous donations from many kind people keen to see musicians get back to work and to support a concert in the community such as this, including a substantial amount from a locally-based business.
“So far I have raised nearly two thirds of what is needed, but to cover the full costs I am seeking a further £1,400. If you would like to support this event, either personally or through a
business, please do get in touch.
“If seven people donated £200 or 14 £100, we would be there. Even if you cannot come to the live concert, you will be able to access it online and see the tangible results of supporting the arts in your local community.”
Please contact theresa@
burghclerebaroque.com for further details of tickets or how to donate. For more information about
Burghclere Baroque, please visit
www.burghclerebaroque.com

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