Mitchell and Vincent on Sunday 30 January 2022, 3.00 pm

West Country-based David Mitchell and Graham Vincent are in great demand throughout the UK and abroad, playing a lively mix of traditional tunes, arranged by them for fiddle and classical guitar, covers of popular songs and original compositions.

They have performed at a whole variety of festivals, events and concerts around the UK, and as far afield as The Netherlands, which have included supporting Tim Edey, Archie Fisher MBE and Kate Rusby along the way – and this will be the forth time they have played at a Music on the Levels concerts.

David plays guitar (one he has made himself) while Graham provides the vocal as well as playing fiddle.  In an unusual coincidence they both trained as luthiers after they left school.

‘Yep, both of us wanted to spend our time making guitars’, says Graham, ‘Life, of course, always gets in the way somewhat and by the time our paths crossed we’d both retrained. I’d been designing furniture, then houses, got qualified and started running my own architectural practice. Dave had been to University and trained as a teacher.

‘Once music has a hold of you it doesn’t let go easily and Dave and I found ourselves playing together in a ceilidh band called Fiddlestix. ‘We realised we had very similar musical tastes and both wanted to spend a lot more time playing music, so we started a duo …’

Mitchell and Vincent have been described as:

‘Musicians who tell stories with their melodies’ (Wessex Folk Festival)

’At all times, the interplay between David Mitchell’s guitar and Graham Vincent’s fiddle is quite stunning.’ (Acoustic magazine)

‘A breath of fresh air . . . . . breath-taking music and performance.’ (CIC, Taunton)

‘Bringing the crowd to tears one moment and to their feet the next.’ (Lyme Folk Weekend).

The government has changed the regulations so it is not now compulsory to wear face coverings. However, as with the last concert, in order to keep everyone as safe as possible there will be no interval to avoid too much milling about.

Again, refreshments will not be provided on this occasion.

And as a courtesy to each other and to help us provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone, we are encouraging the wearing of a face covering at least until seated, unless exempt for medical reasons. And there will be a QR code for checking in.

Finally, in order to help with the artists’ and other costs we are reinstating the raffle in addition to encouraging donations. It costs an average of £300 to put on a concert!

Importantly, if you want to come to the concert, please contact me, Frank Challenger, on 01278 699071 or email f.challenger@icloud.com  so that we can control numbers if necessary.

Tonic from Ali and the Swing Cats

Our first concert since February 2020 featured Ali and the Swing Cats playing their own versions of numbers collectively known as the great American songbook. Composers such as George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and Jerome Kern often wrote these memorable tunes for the musical theatre and films.

The afternoon certainly went with a swing, garnering appreciative comments and warm applause from the socially-distanced audience.

Ali Foyle formed a quartet in early 2020 but managed only one gig before lockdown.

Reformed over the Summer of 2021 in a trio line-up the band is now playing at private parties, weddings and village halls across the South West.

With Ali Foyle (jazz violin/vocals) are Al Falkingham (guitar/vocals) and Nick Strong (piano/ bass).

The world in Westonzoyland

Someone said “if something needs to be sung about then Reg Meuross has a song for it!” And this proved to be the case on Sunday 23 February in St Mary’s Westonzoyland.

IMG_4650One song, entitled Tony Benn’s Tribute to Emily Davison, recounted the story of the brave suffragette, who in 1911 hid overnight in a broom cupboard in Parliament so that she could give that as her address when she appeared in court the next day.

In another, Reg Meuross took on the persona of the City of London.

Yet another, celebrated Ida Lewis who died in 1911and was at one time the best-know women in America, a lighthouse keeper famed for her heroism in rescuing people from the seas.

Then a wonderful flight of fancy with the song, Leaving Alabama, in which he imagines a meeting between Hank Williams and Dylan Thomas.

A ‘real’ encounter is described in his Phil Ochs and Elvis Eating Lunch in Morrison’s Café.

And he even had a song about Westonzoyland. Challenged by a resident in 2010 to write a song about the village, the composition became a moving tribute to the many who fought and died in the Battle of Weston in 1685, and travesty of justice that followed.

Between songs, Reg regaled the near-capacity audience of around 160, with anecdotes- amusing and informative by turns.

A memorable, moving and momentous occasion.

http://www.regmeuross.com

Platform for young musicians: a concert in two halves

Sunday 29 March 2020 at 3.30 pm in St Mary’s Church, Main Road, Westonzoyland, TA7 0EP.

The first part of the concert features musicians from Bridgwater and Taunton College. The students are this year completing the performance pathway on the level 3 Music Technology and Performance Extended Diploma.

Ophelia (Fee) Buckton’s performances reflect her classical training and her new-found interest in jazz. “I’ve been playing the trumpet for almost nine years now”, says Fee, “and then I was introduced to the world of jazz and I’ve fallen in love with it!”Fee_5445

She will be presenting the classical Carnival of Venice by Jean Baptist Arban, followed by a jazz piece, Blue Bossa by Kenny Dorham. “This earned me the offer of a scholarship at Leeds Conservatoire!” Says Fee.

Fee will be then joined by Millie Lintern on ukulele to perform one of their own original numbers and a modern cover of a classic standard.

Millie will be off to study in York and she and Fee “hope to continue making music together for many years to come.”

Devon Salinas specialises in flamenco guitar.

“I will be performing is a song called Asturias by Isaac Albeniz”, says Devon, “followed by a flamenco piece called Gratitude by Amin Toofani.”

Devon has taken full advantage of all that is on offer at the College: “I’ve had the opportunity to perform in various places, ranging from charity shows to classical concerts performing with high level performance singers.”

Like Fee, Devon has had an offer of a place at Leeds Conservatoire and is positive about his future.  “One of my ambitions in life I hope to encounter is to spread my passion and love for music to the world. I also hope not to take a single moment for granted because life is too short not to have fun.”

After the interval, the platform will be given over to the South West Music School (SWMS). “We operate on a virtual basis across the South West region”, explains Tracy Hill, the school’s General Manager, “providing mentoring, workshops and master classes to talented young musicians aged 8 – 20.”

As a Centre for Advanced Training, SWMS is part of the Department of Education’s Music and Dance scheme.

“We work in partnership with schools and others to deliver a supportive, bespoke programme that students can access locally,” adds Tracy. The School has around 80 students coming from all backgrounds, on one of the five programmes on offer.

Performers will include:

Aisha Hall  – who plays piano, guitar, bass, drums and also sings. She is a Core student at SWMS and a songwriter/composer.

Aisha will perform Automne by Chaminade.

Harrison Pawsey, who plays trumpet and piano, is on the Performance Development Programme. He has recently discovered the joys of the synthesiser and the church organ, and plays in two orchestras, one ensemble and a rock band. He writes his own compositions for piano. His two great loves are music and comedy particularly when they are combined. Fellow Bristolian, Bill Bailey, is one of his heroes.

Harrison will perform Billy Joel’s Piano Man plus a trumpet piece.

Amélie Donovan is another Core student. At eleven, Amélie began teaching herself the flute. Now at seventeen, she has achieved ARSM diploma with distinction. Alongside music, ballet is one of her biggest passions and she enjoys exploring the relationship between both. She is a member of the National Youth Folk Ensemble, and has recently won at the Two Moors Festival.

Amélie will be playing: Walter Gieseking – Sonatine for Flute and Piano, David Heath – Out of the Cool and Christian Le Delezir – Epave.