90th anniversary concert for Plymouth Gilbert and Sullivan Fellowship
IN THE past, when schools put on their annual show, one of the first choices would often have been a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta.
Basically straightforward and not overly expensive to stage, fully-fledged productions, or specially-adapted versions for primary schools, graced many a school hall over the years.
But for today's youngsters, many with their well-resourced drama studios, unless it's a West End musical, then it's no contest.
As Plymouth Gilbert and Sullivan Fellowship chairman Kim Gilley put it: "Now every school seems to be doing Les Mis!"
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Plymouth Gilbert and Sullivan Fellowship, however, seems in much better shape, as it celebrates its 90th birthday as the UK's longest-established, continually-running purveyor of this distinctly British and essentially Victorian-era entertainment.
Despite the sometimes less-than-trendy perception of these operettas nowadays, the Fellowship's members are buoyant, and the company financially stable, so is now looking forward to its centenary with confidence.
As part of its celebrations, the Fellowship returns to St Andrew's Minster Church tomorrow evening at 7.30pm for its 90th Anniversary Gala Concert, again in aid of the RNLI.
To make sure the evening goes with a real swing, the programme also includes another name synonymous with Gilbert and Sullivan, by featuring two guest artists, Jill Pert and Richard Suart, both principal soloists from The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.
MEANWHILE the Callington Singers haven't been in existence quite as long, but are still celebrating their 30th anniversary with a concert at Menheniot Church on Saturday next week, at the earlier time of 6pm.
To mark the occasion, the singers will be joined by their twin choirs, Kantorei Barsbuttel from Hamburg, and Chorale Chanterelle from Guipavas in Brittany, with whom they have built up long-standing associations.
The programme includes music by Mozart, Rutter, Verdi, Faure, Bach, and many others, with each choir singing individually and combining for a Hallelujah-Chorus finale.
The concert also features the premiere of O Be Joyful All Ye Lands, specially written by composer Andrew Downes in honour of the occasion.
Andrew's daughter Paula, herself an internationally-renowned soprano, will be the guest artist, and will also include items by local composer, the late Peter Scott-Wigfield.
PERHAPS it's an inevitable sign of the times, but after years of providing a five-week-long experience, next year's Dartington International Summer School will be just three weeks, starting on Saturday, July 26.
Priority booking has already started, and a full brochure will be available before Christmas.