The Three Daggers Pub
Right from the start, the visiting musicians have been hosted for the duration of the festival in homes in nearby villages. For the musicians, the festival is a highlight of their year, a week when they are freed from the responsibilities of their ‘day jobs’, whatever they may be, and can come for a week’s rather hard-working musical holiday in the company of like-minded friends and colleagues.
It was established at the outset that the musicians would take part in the festival by invitation, and for no fee, (and indeed they make a financial contribution to the costs of their lunches and suppers). In the same spirit of generosity and open-heartedness, homes in Edington, Bratton, Steeple Ashton and other villages round and about offer beds and breakfasts free of charge to the visitors. Strong and lasting friendships have been forged, with choristers often returning to the same homes for many years. Indeed, some begin their festival career as trebles, and return years later as counter tenors, tenors or basses, taking time out of busy professional careers on or off the concert platform. Such commitment is strongly reciprocated by the hosts, who have been known to refer to certain musicians as “one of mine”!
The congregations too are of course as much a part of the festival as the singers and the clergy, and there is a bond between these groups which draw people back year after year. Some visitors come for a single service, while others stay for the whole week and attend virtually every service. They too have become part of the local community, staying with friends, (often met through the festival), or in local B&Bs.
There is plenty of ‘down time’ in between rehearsals and at the end of the day. The boys are taken on various outings, when the Administrators are helped by some of the adult singers; there is the annual cricket match, which has never achieved a final result due to spontaneous pitch invasions at the crucial moment – and of course for the adults there are the pubs in Edington and Bratton, playing host to a long-running pool competition and some impromptu singing. By the end of the festival week, all 80+ choristers, directors, organists, administrators and helpers have become close not just musically, but socially as well.
Festival Supper & Musical Evening
As a gesture of support and thanks to their hosts, every year there is a Festival Supper and Musical Evening, when the Nave Choir sing for their suppers and for the benefit of local charities. No polyphony or 16th century masses here, but barbershop, close harmony and a generous helping of tongue-in-cheek.
It is usually held on the Parish Field, next to the church, by kind permission of Edington Parish Council. The evening is a wonderfully light-hearted and enjoyable occasion which helps the community fund the Parish facilities used by the Festival – the Parish Hall and the minibus for instance. Festival singers give a stunning demonstration of close harmony music- making between courses, for our edification and delight. Our home-made puddings have also become something of a feature of the evening.
Tickets, priced at £25 each, may be booked, by letter or email, after 1 June from Hugh Hancock, Dunge Farm, West Ashton, Trowbridge, Wiltshire BA14 6AX or firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 01225 754626. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Edington Priory Church Music Evening’. Account details for BACS payments will be sent with acknowledgements of bookings.
Please let Hugh know if you would like to sit with friends when you book, and he’ll do his best to accommodate you. Similarly, please give notice of any disabled parking requirements when ordering tickets.