CHESTERFIELD: Library hosts free concerts on Saturday lunchtimes

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Many people in Chesterfield have enjoyed a break from shopping on Saturday while taking the opportunity to enjoy a variety of entertainment at Chesterfield Library.

This Saturday, September 21, sees the launch of the 23rd series of free lunchtime concerts at the town centre library.

The concerts were founded in 1991 by local musician Andrew Marples in partnership with the county music librarian at that time, Margaret Brandram, with support from DCC Libraries and Heritage.

Over the years, 370 concerts have been attended by over 30,000 audience members enjoying 2900 performers.

One of the objects of the concerts has been to encourage and show off the talents of young people and many young local performers have been given a platform at the library over the years.

Andrew conducted the first concert in September 1991 which featured a local choir and since then, audiences have enjoyed the wide variety on offer with participation from orchestras and bands as well as choirs, and solo performances from pianists, singers and instrumentalists.

The repertoire has included folk music, opera, works by Gilbert and Sullivan and short plays. While the concerts have always proved popular among local musicians, performers from London, Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield have also taken part and enjoyed the informal atmosphere of the occasion.

The latest series of concerts will begin with Chesterfield Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

Andrew Marples has been the society’s musical director since 1998 and he will be conducting them in selections from their forthcoming production of The Sorcerer at the Pomegranate Theatre next month.

Andrew said “This will be only the second time that this operetta has been staged in Chesterfield. It was one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s earliest collaborations and it includes some lovely music which we shall be presenting in our performance of The Sorcerer in a Nutshell on Saturday. There are some colourful characters and lots of humour in the show and our whistle-stop tour will highlight them all.”

Among those taking part in the concert will be Rachael-Louisa Bray who is well known to local audiences through her solo performances at the library in 2009 and 2010. She plays the part of the bride, Aline, and will be joined by Andrew Moore as the bridegroom, Alexis. Phil Aldred will play the part of John Wellington Wells at the library and Judith Hill, Phil Bradley, Julie Currey and Peter Flint will also feature alongside a full chorus.

Piano accompaniment will be provided by Chris Flint, the society accompanist.

Subsequent concerts will feature performances by Chesterfield Symphony Orchestra, a piano trio, a classical guitarist, a jazz trio and an unusual piano quartet from Derby where eight hands play two pianos. The ever popular December Christmas concert will feature Sheffield Folk Chorale.

Andrew said: “It gives me great satisfaction to promote such varied music to the local community as it gives them the chance to hear and enjoy it, even though times are hard and people have less money to spend. We attract a regular following and most performers are eager to return – indeed some of them have already made several appearances here.”

The fortnightly concerts run from 11.45pm to 12.30pm and bookings are now being taken from April to December 2014. For more details, Andrew can be contacted on Chesterfield 211655.