The Southwell Music Festival is inextricably linked to the musical life of Southwell Minster. I would not be pursuing a career as a musician without the grounding I received in Southwell; the recently retired Rector Chori, Paul Hale, was one of the first to encourage the idea of the Festival; most members of our organising committee, as well as many supporters and volunteers, are involved with the Minster and its music in one way or another; and I am delighted that the Minster’s musicians make an important contribution to each Festival programme.
So the arrival of a new Rector Chori (Southwell’s uniquely fancy name for the Director of Music) is an important moment – both for the musical life of the Minster itself and for all of us who love the place and enjoy what happens there.
Paul Provost’s appointment was announced in January but this weekend is his first in charge following his formal admission to the Minster’s Music Foundation at Evensong on Saturday 29th April.
I am delighted that Paul shares our vision for the Festival as he expressed so clearly in a recent interview for Tympanum, our Festival Friends’ newsletter:
“It would be so easy for a festival like this to centre only on choral music, so it’s great that there’s so much more than that, even in such a short space of time. I also think it’s important that it’s not a cathedral festival: it belongs to the town, and serves to foster relationships between cathedral, community and visitors to the town. The services are an intrinsic part of the Festival, which add another dimension, and allow people to see what the daily life of the Minster is all about.”
On behalf of everyone connected with the Festival I would like to give Paul, his wife Ruth and their baby daughter Martha the warmest possible welcome to Southwell. We look forward to making music with them for many years to come.
PS Paul and Ruth will both be performing at this year’s Festival. Public booking opens on 15th May but it is still possible to join the Friends to take advantage of Silver and Bronze priority. To join the Friends please go here.