Dear Festival goers
This year the festival for 2013 has been more successful than ever. There was a wealth of talent there and audiences were spoilt for choice. There was a mix of fascinating talks across the most diverse subjects from seaweed to forts of Pembrokeshire, from sailing round the world to music hall and desert exploration.
The first Saturday began with a lunch time concert concentrating on young talent to include Charlie Lovell-Jones the winner of the Gregynog young musician competition who delighted his audience with his superb playing. In the evening Costas Fotopolous played the music of Chopin with a narration of his life story presented by actor Alberto Bono and written by local writer Josephine Hammond which was highly acclaimed.
Sunday was a day of fun with the sandcastle competition taking place on the beach followed by a talk by an expert on seaweed. The evening concert featured the Budapest Cafe Orchestra with their Hungarian folk music and lilting melancholy rendition of Mahler.
Monday had Jo Hammond giving a fascinating talk about women explorers of the desert and the evening saw the return of the of that most versatile actress, Alison Neale who the year is presenting her one woman play “The Fossil Lady of Lyme”. It was a tour de force, sometimes funny, sometimes moving but absolutely riveting at all times.
Tuesday there was a talk from a couple who sailed round the world and were captured by pirates. There was the brilliant play by Fluellen Theatre Company, “The Late Marilyn Monroe” and the Pint Sized Plays were back to entertain.
Wednesday brought the talk on the forts of Pembrokeshire by George Geer and in the evening we had the very talented pianist Viv Mclean. Viv has been coming to Pembrokeshire for ten years giving recitals at Lampeter house. He was the winner of the Royal Overseas league piano competition and frequently accompanies the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He thrilled the audience with his exciting renditions of Mozart, Beethoven and Gershwin among others.
Thursday was an interesting day starting with readings by Brother David from Caldey Island who recently published his new book of poetry “The Music of the Ocean”. Next in Church House was a complete contrast with a workshop by the very popular local artist, Graham Hadlow. The evening was full of Tenby flavour featuring the Tenby Male choir who as usual packed the church and also a play written by a local author, Tony Curtis. This was based on the three most famous sons and daughters of Tenby, namely Augustus John, his sister Gwen John and Nina Hamnett. Nina was born in February 1890 and was a writer, artist and very Bohemian. She lived a scandalous life and died in 1956 by falling out of her window and being impaled on the railings below. It was an interesting examination of their motivation and lives with a script that had echoes of Dylan Thomas about it.
As the week drew towards its close there was old fashioned music hall entertainment on Friday afternoon which included a slap-up tea. Then in the afternoon there was a talk about the American Civil War followed by a showing of the film “Lincoln” and a dinner comprising American style food.
The final day Saturday September 28th saw the festival finish with a flourish by welcoming the famous conductor Grant Llewellyn who rehearsed volunteer singers from Pembrokeshire and elsewhere during the day and in the evening they gave a triumphant performance of Brahms’ Requiem ably accompanied by soloists Sarah Benbow and Aaron Pryce-Lewis who both sang like angels.
Grant has served as chief to many orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic of Flanders, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra of Wales. He also conducted the Cardiff singer of the year competition just to name a few of his many achievements.
Detailed reviews are now available on our website and of course in the new year we will be putting on information for Tenby Arts Festival 2014, 20th – 27th September. Watch this space!
Rosemary Rhys Davies