We were pleased to receive the following report from Linda Patrick...

‘Joyful, loving, musical, noise, colour, friendship, amazing, happy and wow!’ All words spoken to sum up the success of the third Arts and Music Festival held at St Mary’s Church in Horncastle in early May.

Following the theme of ‘Freedom’, the church was transformed into a colourful auditorium of flying birds, framed prints, mounted sketches and paintings and a chain with over 1200 links – the longest paper chain ever seen in Horncastle. And to complete the spectacle, St Mary’s even had a new 34-pipe graffiti organ!

What an occasion. More than 1900 people either took part or visited this extravaganza, and with 34 different performances there was something for everybody. All four local schools participated: pupils from St Lawrence School entertained us with songs and a comedy sketch, while others took care of serving refreshments to the audience. Our younger children from Horncastle Primary School sang their hearts out to a packed church, offering a number of popular songs and music. In addition, both concerts from the Banovallum School and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School were spectacular. Pupils from each school gave a varied lunchtime concert, including choirs and individual soloists, and the quality of the performances was second to none whether on flute, piano, brass, clarinet, strings or singing. The talent from all of our schools was amazing to behold.

It was wonderful to see the town embrace its musical abilities. The playing of brass instruments in this area is a popular choice. David Chambers and the youngest brass musicians entertained early one morning with trumpet playing and then, later in the day, the Banovallum Junior Brass Band held their open rehearsal in the church. East Lyndsey Brass Orchestra staged its first ever public performance during the festival, and the sounds of the euphonium filled the church when soloist Kira Roberts gave two performances during the week.

Choirs featured heavily during the festival. We give thanks to all the wonderful choirs in and around the town, including Minting Community Choir, Horncastle Community Choir, St Mary’s Gospellers, Horncastle and District Choral Society and Octangle. Many embraced the ‘Freedom’ theme and included slave songs within their repertoire, and the Friday celebration evening including the Banovallum Singers was simply beautiful.

We had so much more: we had poetry reading and drama and sketching outdoors; Ash Buckingham demonstrated how painting a picture can be so rewarding; there was a fascinating talk by Chrissie Chapman on William Wilberforce and his fight to stop slavery; the Young Stagers held a rehearsal of their forthcoming play; The Lyndsey String Quartet returned for a third time to give a beautiful lunchtime concert; the Wolds Wind Quartet played a collection of medieval and modern tunes; Ruth Bell sang for us; and Chris and Gail Hinkins offered songs from the musicals.

This week-long extravaganza of art culminated in eight hours of non-stop live music on the last Saturday of the Festival. As the day progressed the noise became more intense until The Big Sing, at which 300 people joined together to learn and perform ‘Freedom is Coming’, and the Bishop of Grimsby, together with children in the town, broke the giant paper chains! And finally, the church held a service of choral evensong at which the Bishop David gave an address – a fitting end to a fantastic week!

Thank you to everyone who took part, and watch out for 2019!