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The 10 Parishes Festival is now firmly established as a major West Somerset celebration of the visual and performing arts in Wiveliscombe and the nine surrounding parishes.

Started in September 2003, the Festival is a highly successful biennial event, supported by the large number of artists, craftspeople and performers who have chosen to live and work in the area, giving it a unique character and a widely acknowledged creative identity.

The Festival grew out of the Wiveliscombe Area Market Town Initiative, which focuses on developing local culture and creativity, employment, rural tourism and a sustainable, proactive approach to the local environment and community life. Please visit the website at www.10parishesfestival.org.uk for full event details, news and blogs.

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Contact Details:

Sue Mitchinson, PR Officer | info@10parishesfestival.org.uk | www.10parishesfestival.org.uk

Amici is a chamber choir whose numbers vary depending on the works being performed. At full strength it numbers around 40 adults and students with big voices and a high standard of individual musicianship. We are adventurous in our programming and like a challenge. We have presented multi-media performances, semi-staged oratorios and concert parties of operatic arias and Edwardian parlour songs; small ensemble pieces and full-scale works with orchestra, from the middle ages to 21st century, from masses to swing. Amici also tours abroad. Membership is by invitation, but we are always interested in new voices.

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Contact Details:

www.amicichoir.org.uk

Established in 2004, Blackdowns Early Music Projects were principally conceived to draw together groups of experienced singers to work under the expert guidance of specialist music directors on programmes of infrequently performed early music (mostly pre 1720). The principal music director is JanJoost van Elburg, with guest directors being invited from time to time. Talented and enthusiastic singers of this repertoire are invited to spend 3 or 4 days working together on the music, some are local, while many come from Europe and all over the UK. The music is performed in a suitable venue in the area (occasionally straying as far away as Exeter Cathedral) and is frequently accompanied by specialist early music instrumentalists. The resulting concerts have become a mainstream event in the calendar for anyone who loves renaissance or baroque vocal music. BEMP is registered Charity 1156177.

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Contact Details:

Catherine Bass, information@blackdownsearlymusic.co.uk | www.blackdownsearlymusic.co.uk

The Choral Society was re-formed in 1949 after the war. The choir is now bouncing back after the pandemic, and has doubled in size since September 2022, with several very successful and enjoyable concerts. We have been recognised by Classic FM, added to their carol playlist, and are making an excellent sound, as well as becoming a very sociable and bonded group. Our conductor is Jackie Ayres, who graduated from the Guildhall School of Music, London, and is a very experienced professional musician and teacher. We rehearse on Wednesday evenings at the Salvation Army Hall, Moorland Road Bridgwater from 7 – 9pm. We are always looking for new singers to join our very friendly choir.

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Contact Details:

Jacky Ayres 07990 293560  conductor@bridgwaterchoral.org

or Sue Pow 01278 662755. secretary@bridgwaterchoral.org

Collegium Singers was originally established in 1994 by a group of singers who enjoy performing music specifically suited to a small chamber choir (known as Taunton Camerata until 2009). The group developed a reputation for excellent performance of interesting programmes for singers, players and audiences alike. Repertoire includes vocal works from the eleventh century to the present day including several baroque present-day premières, with musicians drawn from recognised professional period ensembles. With the current Musical Director, Elinor Cooper, Collegium Singers are exploring beautiful music suited to chamber choirs, not only from renaissance and baroque periods, but also exciting works from living and contemporary composers. Rehearsals are on Monday evenings in Taunton. Membership is around 25. Collegium Singers are interested to hear from prospective  members with a clear and blending vocal tone and experience of singing in a small ensemble. Auditions are friendly and take place following a few rehearsals.   For more information please email collsingers@gmail.com Collegium Singers is a Registered Charity 1116300.

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Contact Details:

John Edwards, collsingers@gmail.com

Creative Innovation Centre CIC is non-profit Community Interest Company and social enterprise Company No. 08140784. Any profits made go back into our community projects and services.

CICCIC is an exciting place where being enterprising about your community or creative practice is what we are all about. We unite all good things that make us happy as individuals, groups and communities. We support and work with all forms of art, music, performance, heritage and all cultural activities.

Contact Details:

Andrew Knutt, andy@ciccic.co.uk | www.ciccic.co.uk

Guildhall Young Artists Taunton (GYA Taunton) is a Saturday performing arts centre offering an exciting range of music and drama classes, 1:1 instrument/voice tuition and performance opportunities for 5 – 18-year-olds.

Based at Richard Huish College, young musicians and actors can access state of the art facilities, develop their creativity and access high-quality training with top practitioners and industry professionals.

Guildhall Young Artists Taunton, now in its 10th year, is part of Guildhall Young Artists, Guildhall School’s network of centres across the country, providing inspiring performing arts training for children and young people.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama is a world-leading conservatoire based in the City of London, ranked as the top UK conservatoire in the Guardian University Guide music league table and second in the Complete University Guide arts, drama and music league table.

With no auditions or previous experience necessary, and bursaries available for tuition and travel, GYA Taunton is a great way for local children and young people to access Guildhall School’s world-class performing arts training, make friends and have lots of fun.

Registered charity No: 1000825s

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Contact Details:     gyataunton@gsmd.ac.uk

Website: www.gyataunton.org.uk

Music on the Levels puts on afternoon concerts monthly in Westonzoyland. They include folk, jazz, classical, country & western. The aims of the group are to bring high-quality music to the area and to encourage young and emerging talent. The group was formed in 2014 and is run by a small voluntary management committee with a wider membership.

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Contact Details:

Frank Challenger, franklighthouse2010@live.co.uk | musiconthelevels.com

A small opera duo made up of members Josephine Cresswell and Anna Fitzgerald.

 

 

Contact Details:

operamuses@gmail.com

The Ronald Tickner Educational Trust (RTET) was formed in 2000 to commemorate Ron Tickner’s legacy of encouraging young musicians. Ronald Tickner (1920–1999) was Organist and Choirmaster of St Mary Magdalene Church for 36 years from 1963–1999. During his time in Somerset from 1954–1999 Ron was a tireless supporter and accompanist for Taunton & Somerset Music, Drama & Dance Festival, now known as Taunton Festival of the Arts. The Trust is associated with Taunton Association of Performing Arts, which was founded in 1998 by former RTET Trustee Brian Cresswell (1939–2017).

The Trust exists to advance the study of music by the provision of bursaries to organists or collaborative pianists from Somerset. The Trust also provides bursaries for the choristers of Taunton Minster (St Mary Magdalene Church, Taunton) for the study of piano, organ, singing and other instrumental lessons. The Trust has awarded many scholarships, including to organists, pianists and singers who have embarked on professional careers.

 

Reg. Charity 1084561

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Contact Details:

Hilary Marshall, Chair & Honorary Secretary | rtetrust@gmail.com | www.rtetrust.org

St George’s Church in Billet Street, Taunton, is an excellent venue for concerts. There is also a Parish Centre nearby which has excellent facilities. The Church has been a venue for musical events over many years for performances by local musicians and choirs, with a focus on providing young musicians an opportunity to perform. These events have enabled the community to experience different types of music.

For further details about hiring the building as a concert venue or about any of the events advertised please email us.

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Contact Details:

Anne-Marie Twort| taunton.stgeorge@cliftondiocese.com | www.tauntoncatholicchurch.co.uk

St John’s Church in Park Street, Taunton, is a Grade 1 listed building with excellent acoustics and a fine Father Willis organ. Regular musical events are held during the year including a series of monthly lunchtime concerts that have been running for several years, These concerts were founded to give young aspiring musicians a free platform while at the same time offering the community a pleasurable experience.

St John’s Church is a popular choice as a venue for performances by local musicians and choirs. For further details about hiring the building as a concert venue or about any of the events advertised please email us.

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Contact Details:

Mary Elliott | secretary@stjohnstaunton.org.uk | www.stjohnstaunton.org.uk

Somerset Chamber Choir was founded in 1984 by former members of the Somerset Youth Choir and is firmly established as one of the most exciting choirs in the area. It recruits from among the most talented singers in the region and places a strong emphasis on encouraging young people to join its ranks. The choir performs innovative and eclectic programmes of both established and neglected masterpieces, and regularly performs with many of the UK’s top professional soloists and orchestras. We perform two concerts a year, usually in Wells Cathedral and King’s College Chapel, Taunton. The Choir meets approximately four times per year for weekend rehearsals at Hambridge Village Hall and currently has about 70 members.

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Contact Details:

Philip Bevan, prbevan@btinternet.com | www.somersetchamberchoir.org.uk

The Somerset County Orchestra is made up of both amateur and professional players and rehearses on Tuesdays in Taunton. We give three or four concerts a year covering a wide ranging repertoire, often using the talented soloists from our local area. The orchestra is conducted by David Hedges and has performed many major works over the years, full details of which can be found on the website.

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Contact Details:

Susan Kaufman, contact@somersetcountyorchestra.org.uk | www.somersetcountyorchestra.org.uk

Somerset Opera was founded by Brian Cresswell in 1974. Since then we have performed over 200 operas, operettas, musicals, revues and oratorios throughout Somerset and beyond. We rehearse in Archbishop Cranmer’s School in Taunton on Mondays, with further rehearsal nights nearer production, and are always looking for new members who can sing/sew/paint scenery to swell our enthusiastic ranks of 140 members and friends.

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Contact Details:

Tina Harrison, contact@somersetopera.org.uk | www.somersetopera.org.uk

Somerset Voices is a small ensemble (c.20) of professional and other experienced singers and musicians conducted by Graham Caldbeck, previously Head of Undergraduate Studies at the RCM, MD for Southern Voices, the Nonsuch Singers and for many years the Somerset Chamber Choir.  The group gave its first concert in December 2017 in the palatial surroundings of Brympton D’Evercy in South Somerset.

The object of the group is to rehearse and perform beautiful music in the company of friends and to an appreciative audience, they certainly had that at Brympton.  Intensive rehearsal and performance takes place over a single weekend with the concert on the Sunday afternoon, thus enabling those performers from London and Manchester to return home the same day!

Membership is necessarily fluid and if you would like to join our ‘talent pool’ then please get in touch.

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Contact Details:

John Broad, jrbroad@hotmail.com

Southern Sinfonia – the chamber orchestra of Southern England. With Sir Roger Norrington as its patron and Simon Chalk as its music director, Southern Sinfonia enjoys a fine reputation as the leading chamber orchestra in the South of England. The orchestra is renowned for its unique ability to play both modern and baroque instruments at the correct pitch and with informed playing style. The orchestra’s expansive repertoire, including music from the 1600s up to the present day, puts it in huge demand, and has been delighting audiences throughout the South of England for over 25 years.

Southern Sinfonia, the professional Chamber Orchestra for the south of England is now resident in Taunton at Queens College. The orchestra performs in venues locally and across the south, giving major concerts, working with Choirs for their cathedral performances in Exeter, Wells, Bath, Romsey and giving expert guidance to students for their music education events.  Orchestra members also give recitals in local Care Homes.

Southern Sinfonia’s recordings include the Monteverdi Vespers on the Signum label, the world premiere of Carl Rutti’s Requiem (Naxos), and the Bach B Minor Mass with Ralph Allwood and the Rodolfus Choir (Signum).

Latest recordings:   Elena Pavlea, The Shape of Freedom;    Dan Loclair, Requiem;     Matthew Coleridge Requiem;     all available on the Convivium label.

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Contact Details:

Sheila Read, sheilaread@southernsinfonia.co.uk |southersinfonia.org.uk 

We are TAOS! Taunton’s best and most loved Musical Theatre Society!
Formed in 1900, we have celebrated over 100 years of musical theatre, and as such are one of the oldest societies in existence. The society has been a winner of both NODA (The National Operatic and Dramatic Association) and Rose Bowl awards and is a great stepping stone for those who wish to enter the world of professional theatre.
In most recent years TAOS have wowed audiences with their productions of Annie, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Full Monty, Encore, The Sound of Music, A Chorus Line, Anything Goes, Sister Act, Company, The Gondoliers, Heroes and Villains, 9 to 5 The Musical, Murder on the QE2, Oliver! The Musical, ‘CATS’ and ‘Into the Woods’.
TAOS is always happy to welcome new members – if you would like to join either to perform or to be part of our back stage or production teams, please do get in touch!
Bringing a successful show to fruition requires as many people behind the scenes than on stage (if not more!) so we are always looking for assistance with props, make up, costumes, as well as members of our marketing and front of house teams – as our good friend The Artful Dodger would say – we look forward to considering you part of our family!

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Contact Details:

Debbie Carlson, financemanager.taos@gmail.comhttps://www.tauntonmusicaltheatre.co.uk/


Taunton Choral Society is a well-established choir with around 80 or so members. The choir has a long history of high quality choral singing and gives three concerts each year, usually with orchestral accompaniment. Its repertoire is mainly traditional, but not exclusively, sacred music. Recent performances include Brahms’ German Requiem, Bach’s St John Passion, Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Concerts tend to be in Taunton itself although we have also sung as far away as Wells Cathedral. Our enthusiastic and talented Musical Director is Ed Goater. We rehearse each Tuesday night at 7.30 in Temple Methodist Church; prospective new members are always welcome.

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Contact Details:

TCS Secretary, mail@tauntonchoralsociety.org.uk | www.tauntonchoralsociety.org.uk

We take part in the National Concert Band Festival, where we have had excellent results in the past. Practices are held at The Archbishop Cranmer School, each Friday evening. Training Band (Beginner level) is from 6:30-7:30pm, Senior Band (Advanced level) from 7:30-9:30pm. The band has a number of instruments available at the moment, which we are keen to allow new members to use. We are particularly keen to recruit tuba and percussion players.

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Contact Details:

Martin Wills, martin@tauntonconcertband.co.uk | www.tauntonconcertband.co.uk Bill Greed, bill@tauntonconcertband.co.uk

The choir seeks to maintain the very best traditions and standards of male voice singing and has performed in cathedrals and village halls alike. The range of songs performed is very wide, including famous hymns, ballads, songs from shows, and light opera. The choir has helped to raised many thousands of pounds for local and national charities. In 2016 the choir will celebrate its 70th anniversary in 2016 with a visit to Taunton’s twin town Lisieux.

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Contact Details:

Chris Evans, Publicity Officer, publicityofficer@tauntondeanemvc.com | www.tauntondeanemvc.com

Formed in 1913, the Taunton & Somerset Music, Drama & Dance Festival has undergone a name change – Taunton Festival of the Arts – to reflect more closely its activities and to allow for additional events. The change of name also coincides with changes in the Festival Year: the Music Festival will be in February 2015 and the Drama Festival in the following month. There will not be a Music or Drama Festival in 2014. The Dance Festival will continue to be held in June with the next competition on the 14 & 15 of this year. Aiming particularly, but not exclusively, at young people Taunton Festival of the Arts provides a challenge and a unique opportunity to perform in a competitive and non-competitive situation in front of adjudicators, all experienced professionals, offering teaching at the highest level. Music classes are held in piano, strings, woodwind, brass, recorders, composition and vocal. Drama classes include verse speaking, prepared reading, public speaking, mime, and acting. All performers receive verbal and written adjudication scripts and certificates, and cups or trophies are also awarded.

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Contact Details:

info@tauntonfestival.org.uk | www.tauntonfestival.org.uk

Welcome to the 5th Taunton Literary Festival, an exciting programme of events, presented by Brendon Books, Taunton’s independent bookshop.
This year, we have 21 days of events, featuring more than 40 authors, workshops and activities to inspire and entertain you. Why not start your own book at our writer’s workshop? Try your hand at bookbinding or participate in a reading Shakespeare event. We’ve also got readings of Dylan Thomas’s prose and poetry, the launch of an original play, written for radio, as well as a visit from Sunny Ormonde “Lillian Archer” from Radio 4’s The Archers, who is in Taunton with her one woman show. The festival runs from 7 to 28 November and we look forward to seeing you there.Tickets for the events are available to purchase directly from Brendon Books or online via Ticket Source.

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Contact Details:

Lionel Ward, brendonbooks@gmail.com | www.tauntonliteraryfestival.net

Taunton’s wonderful mediaeval Parish Church plays host to a number of musical and musical/theatrical events throughout the year, performed by both visiting and local groups. We also put on our own musical events outside the liturgical calendar – some of these are quite unusual.

If you are interested in hiring the Minster as a venue for your own performance, or would like information about St. Mary’s own events please use the contact details below.

Reg. Charity 1084561

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Contact Details:

Parish Administrator | marymag.taunton@btopenworld.com | www.stmarymagdalenetaunton.org.uk

Taunton Sinfonietta is a small chamber group of professional players which performs on average five times a year, either at St James Church or Temple Methodist Church. The Sinfonietta employs a range of soloists, aiming to encourage younger performers as often as possible. They are also happy to premier works by local composers. Programmes are varied and include pieces from the baroque, classical, romantic and more modern periods. The Sinfonietta is supported by Patrons and Friends. For more information about the Sinfonietta and its concerts please use the contact details below.

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Contact Details:

Robin Carpenter, robinsheila@icloud.com | www.tauntonsinfonietta.org.uk

Ever since 1927 the Taunton Thespians have enjoyed a reputation for producing good quality theatre for the region. Their annual programme includes at least two shows at the Brewhouse, a summer tour playing ten venues around the County, fun play-reading evenings, In-House performances and other outreach activities of a theatrical nature. All this means that every member has the opportunity to be involved to whatever degree they wish. New members are particularly welcome at the monthly Club-Nights, 7.30pm on the first Wednesday at The Place, our 50-seater theatre and clubroom in Wilfred Road, off East Reach, Taunton.

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Contact Details:

Jane Edwards, secretary@tauntonthespians.org.uk | www.tauntonthespians.org.uk

We are a 16 piece Chamber Choir, newly formed in October 2022 led by Joe Beckhelling. We have an expanding and varied repertoire and are committed to bringing choral music to the local community.

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Contact email: sarah.key1@btinternet.com

For more than forty years the Wayfarers have been delighting Taunton audiences with their annual offerings and, since 1969, have produced full-scale quality productions in the finest family pantomime tradition. The stated aims of this award-winning society, however, extend beyond entertainment to education and also, hopefully, to conservation of an endangered artform. An active membership of around one hundred is supported by a similar number of Associate Members. Rehearsals take place mainly at the home of Taunton Amateur Operatic Society, Callebaut Hall. Performances are staged over a two week period in January at the Brewhouse Theatre.

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Contact Details:

Geraldine Lucking, gmlucking@yahoo.co.uk | www.wayfarers-pantomime.co.uk

We are a rehearsal orchestra meeting at Oakwood Church, Obridge Rd, Taunton  on Wednesdays from 7.45 to 9.45 during term time. New members are always welcome especially string players. There are no auditions but a standard of grade 5 plus is required.

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Contact Details:

Ruth Scanlon, Secretary | ruth_scanlon@hotmail.com

We are a friendly choir of about 80 mixed voices, performing two concerts a year, in November and March, with orchestral accompaniment and guest soloists. Over the years we have sung some challenging and unfamiliar pieces as well as most of the standard choral repertoire. Our Music Director is Laurence Blyth, a young and enthusiastic choral conductor who joined us in January 2011 and has rapidly established himself through both his musical and motivational abilities. Rehearsals are on Wednesdays in Wellington Methodist Church, Waterloo Rd at 7.30pm.

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Contact Details:

Sue Ryan, wellingtonchoralsociety@gmail.com | www.wellingtonchoralsociety.org.uk

In addition to the many public concerts offered by our gifted pupils, Wellington School Music Department also offer a Professional Concert Series featuring some of the most talented performers in the land. Recent visitors to Wellington School include Wayne Marshall, Crispian Steele-Perkins and Cantabile.

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Contact Details:

Jan Fuller, music@wellington-school.org.uk | www.wellington-school.org.uk

Upcoming events