It’s a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it – but at least the people of South Holland have access to live classical music.
That wasn’t always the case, and just over 30 years ago the district was a bit of a desert when it came to the classics.
However, South Holland Concerts was established to fill that gap, and has been so successful it is now entering its 30th season.
Anna Maxey and Keith Dobney were the original prime movers, and are still involved, Anna as concert secretary and Keith as concert-goer.
David Jones was asked to become involved early on and has taken on a number of roles over time, but has been chairman for many years.
He says South Holland Concerts puts on four concerts a year, attracting anything from 80 to 150 people each time. The concerts give young people a chance to discover classical music too, because children and students can attend concerts at no charge.
He describes the concerts as chamber music, rather than a full orchestra, so performed by small groups of people, such as a solo piano recital, a piano trio, brass quintet and even small scale opera.
David says: “We try to make it as varied as possible. The problem is people who like classical music might like string quartets, so how do you persuade them to come to a whole season of other things?
“It’s so varied, and the music is ageless and in so many different forms, from early music to Mozart, the heavy stuff to the romantics and 20th century stuff.
“We do hope people will subscribe to all four concerts because that gives us a base of confidence on which to build the next season.”
Each year, South Holland Concerts holds one event under the auspices of the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, which aims to further the careers of young, very talented musicians. David says the young people go through a massive audition and do very well to get on the scheme.
He says: “The deal is we provide a platform where they can perform and the Trust give it a heavily subsidised rate. You sometimes find the performer’s name up in bright lights in later years.”
Concert venues have altered over the years, from the comfy seating but poor acoustics of the NFU building, the Priory School, where a stage had to be built each time, a couple at St Mary and St Nicolas Church, to the newly refurbished South Holland Centre, where they have been held ever since.