History of Weston Music Society

Although there had been many previous concerts in Weston, it was only in 2000 that we began to take ourselves seriously, with a proper constitution and registration as a Charity. Weston Music Society had a grand enough new beginning – a proper orchestral concert in memory of a much-loved Weston resident, Bob Clements, organised by his son Richard with Felicity and John Lowe.

The following year we looked for a second memorial concert and were able to invite the fine Brazilian guitarist Fabio Zanon. We were encouraged to such boldness by John Taylor, a recording engineer specialising in the guitar, who frequently uses Weston’s church as a recording venue. Since then his advice, contacts and enthusiasm have led to our Society’s now well-known specialism in guitar recitals. Guitarists of the highest calibre have been happy to play for us - Paraguayan Berta Rojas is just one of many – an honour and a delight for us all.

Over the years many other fine musicians have visited Weston, some well-known nationally, even internationally. Highlights include the unexpected visits in 2011 and 2013 of staff and students from the renowned Curtis Institute in Philadelphia USA who brought the now internationally established Dover String Quartet, Curtis’s CEO and violist Roberto Diaz, and the then student pianist Alexander Ullmann.

Over-confident by now we dared to invite the leading baroque violinist Rachel Podger to visit Weston. To our surprise her agent indulged us and found a way. The very happy relationship with Rachel which followed led to a working rehearsal visit for her ensemble Brecon Baroque and a further duo recital with the violist Jane Rogers.

By contrast we have also experimented successfully with Peruvian harps, saxophones, ocarinas and accordions – and a semi-staged performance of Handel’s Messiah attracting both elation and opprobrium. But there were no doubts about the visit of alumni of Clare College choir under Graham Ross in 2017; we have invited them to return in 2019. Between 2000 and 2018 we have promoted 75 concerts, many enjoyed by 100 or more music-lovers, some travelling considerable distances. We are proud of our success, and intend it to continue.