Monday 8th: “Two Pennies Money Advice” (previously called “Community Advice Support and Help”) is a small charity but does a great deal of work with those who get into financial difficulties. It also runs courses to try to prevent money problems occurring or re-occurring. I met with Neal Murphy who wanted to discuss future ideas.
Tuesday 9th: The Chairman of the Three Choirs Festival, Sir Michael Perry and Lady Perry, held a pre-concert Reception on the Old Palace lawn this evening. It is such a privilege to meet those who are working so hard for this Festival.
Wednesday 10th: Cllr. Jo Hodges (Chairman of the Worcester Twinning Association), Cllr. Roger Berry (Deputy Mayor), Cllr. Roger Knight (Deputy leader of the City Council), Doreen Porter and I met this morning to discuss a request from the Mayor of Ukmerge, our twinned city in Lithuania. This centred on what we could offer in terms of help and advice on how we run our council. A number of ideas were debated including several that we had used when our colleagues from the Adentan Municipal Assembly came here in February. We also discussed how we can assist with the 25th Anniversary International Week of Twinning in September next year.
Mr. Frankie Tsang is chairman of the Worcester Chinese Association. I was delighted to welcome him, Mr. Gu Yawei (the Chairman of Tongling Society for Returned Overseas Chinese) and five colleagues to the parlour. They were fascinated by the story of the Guildhall and past Mayors. Tongling is located in Eastern China and spans the Yangtze River. It has produced copper since 256BC and is now the Copper Production Base in China. “Tong” means “copper” and “Ling” means “hilltop”: so a very apt name for this city. It has a “small” population of “only” 740,000. There are 20,000,000 people within an hour’s drive!!
Thursday 11th: For half an hour before Evensong in the Cathedral Peter Dyke gave a magnificent organ recital. All five pieces were new to me. Evensong is a liturgy used in the Anglican Communion. Originally it was formed by combining the Roman Catholic Vespers and Compline. Choral Evensong from the Book of Common Prayer lends itself to a wonderful variety of musical scholarship. This is what was heard this evening in the Cathedral when Hereford Cathedral Choir. It was a delight to be there.
Friday 12th: A Reception this evening on the Old Palace Lawn was followed by a Three Choirs Concert. Two works were performed: “An Oxford Elegy” by Ralph Vaughan Williams for which The Dean, The Very Reverend Peter Atkinson, acted as narrator and Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem. It was an outstanding experience. A firework display and then a Dinner completed the evening well passed our bed time!!
Saturday 13th: The final and 64th. Concert of the Three Choirs Festival: “A Night at the Opera” in the Cathedral. It was a musical extravaganza with works by Rossini, Mozart, Wagner, Verdi and Borodin. Adrian Lucas (Conductor and Artistic Director), The Festival Chorus and the Philharmonia Orchestra placed Worcester at the centre of excellence. The packed Cathedral was enthralled and the applause lasted and lasted. Jane and I hosted the traditional end of festival Supper for the Festival Chorus in the Guildhall. It was clear that this has probably been one of the most successful Three Choirs Festivals ever with record seat sales. Sir Michael Perry, Adrian Lucas and everyone involved must be congratulated: as the President of the Three Choirs Festival Association, HRH The Prince of Wales, says in his letter published in the 2011 Festival programme: “The music on offer is, as always, a rich blend of the comfortably familiar and the intriguingly new, and the choice of ensembles and artists strikes a parallel balance between maturity and youth”.
Now that was a week that was! Worcester City really has shown its cultural prowess. In spite of the “recession” people came to Worcester from all over the country and world to attend the oldest Classical Music Festival. Our Three Choirs Festival (Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford) has been running for almost three hundred something of which we should all be very proud.
A little piece of interesting history I only discovered in the last few days. Hubert Leicester was Mayor of Worcester five times in 1904 – 05 and 1913 – 15. He was a friend of Elgar and closely associated with the Festival Chorus. We have discovered a large and magnificent portrait of Leicester in the City Museum’s store room and I am hoping that eventually it can be hung here in the Guildhall.