Month: March 2018

Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for March 2018 Part Two


Tiptree Choral Society under its Musical Director Malcolm Boulter is performing works by Schubert and Brahms with soloists Carolyn Cook and Victor Sgarbi (these soloists were last heard in March in the choir’s performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah).

Schubert’s Mass in G, written in six days when he was just 18 years old, contrasts with the main work of the concert, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem which was written over eleven years.  The choir will be accompanied by pianists David Leveridge and Daniel Law.  Saturday March 24 at St Luke’s Church, Tiptree at 7.30pm.

Tickets: £12 (01206 734625) or on the door.

Last December the choir performed an uplifting new symphonic mass for choir and strings, Sunrise Mass by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo. It can be heard again in a joint concert with a choir from the French city of Castelsarrasin on Friday 11 May in St Botolph’s Church, Colchester and again on Saturday 12 May at Tolleshunt Knights Village Hall.

Further details (01206 734625)

St Luke’s Church in Tiptree will also be the venue for the Chelmsford Singers in a mainly Mozart concert including his rarely-heard Mass in honour of the Most Holy Trinity and also Misericordias Domini. It also features J S Bach’s O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht and Haydn’s Insanae et vanae curae. Saturday 17 March at 7.30pm

Tickets: £12 on the door.

Mozart’s Requiem, contrasting with Bob Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass, will be performed by the Anglia Singers under Chris Green at our Lady Queen of Peace Church, Braintree on Sunday March 18 at 4pm.

Tickets: £8 (01245 350988)

Back to Colchester when its Choral Society will be performing Faure’s Requiem and other works on Saturday 17 March with soloists Gill Wilson and Colin Baldy at 7.30pm in St Botolph’s Church. On Sunday the Kingfisher Ensemble and friends perform a programme of Mozart, Debussy and Brahms at 2.45pm in Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Colchester.

Tickets: £12

Sudbury Symphony Orchestra are pleased to introduce Christopher Bearman who will play Gregson’s Tuba Concerto in their Spring Concert in St. Peter’s Church, Sudbury at 6.00 pm on Sunday March 25th. Other works being performed at this concert include Mussorgsky’s Introduction to Khovanshchina and Tchaikovsky’ Symphony no. 5 in E minor.

Details here

And last but not least hear J S Bach’s St John Passion in St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Maldon, CM9 5HW on 30th March at 7.30pm. In the spirit of recreating Bach’s original devotional event, there is no entry charge. People are welcome to come along to experience the performance from whatever perspective they like: as an act of devotion, a moment of reflection, or simply to hear great music. There will be a retiring collection to help defray the costs of the professional orchestra etc.

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

You can also read more from Liz at

FREE PUBLICITY! If you are involved in music-making, we are  privileged to offer a free publicity service to our local community with concert previews and reviews with weekly columns in printed publications such as the Essex County Standard and Colchester Daily Gazette and a monthly page in Essex Life. We also offer regularly contributions to websites such as Colchester 101.

If you have a forthcoming concert of classical music, you would like previewed, contact Liz Leatherdale on 0800 999 6994.

Twitter @ClassicalCDs

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Liz Leatherdale








Liz Leatherdale

Jumbo’s Restaurant in the Sky Takes a Big Step Closer

After decades of speculation and dashed hopes, plans to renovate Jumbo, Colchester’s unique Victorian water tower, have taken a huge step forward after the submission of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant application which will pave the way for residents and visitors to enjoy the spectacular views across Colchester and beyond that await at the top of the tower.

Photo: Darius Laws

Colchester and North East Essex Building Preservation Trust is working with partners, including the building’s owner Paul Flatman, on the multi-million pound project to conserve and renovate the Victorian Grade ll* listed landmark. The Trust’s plans will see the 34-metre Balkerne Water Tower, affectionately known as Jumbo, preserved and put back to use after 30 years of being vacant.

Trust Chairman, Simon Hall MBE, said: “Everything about the project is big and our Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application is a step on what will be a long journey to save this magnificent piece of Victorian industrial heritage for Colchester and the nation.

“Jumbo is recognised as the most important municipal water tower in the country and is testament to the skills of the Victorian engineers who built it in 1883. Since it ceased to be used as a water tower in 1987, it has sadly been standing idle and in 1993 it was put on the national Buildings at Risk register.

CNEEBPT/Mike Cameron Photography

“We have received excellent support from across our communities, Colchester Borough Council and heritage experts as we start the process of seeking funds for our plans. Clearly, Jumbo has a big place in the hearts of many people. This first grant would allow us to develop the plans fully before we source additional funds for the conservation and restoration. A second HLF application could then be made next year to allow work to start. If the second application is successful, the owner will grant the Trust a long lease and we will have saved Jumbo.”

Darius Laws (Con) Councillor for Castle Ward, in which Jumbo sits, added: “I know that every single Colchester Councillor, regardless of political colour, is committed to promoting and enhancing our unique heritage, and Jumbo preserved with a restaurant, bar and hire space in the sky represents a massive opportunity for Colchester.

This also an exciting opportunity to work with the Mercury Theatre, the Church Street Tavern, the Arts Centre and other nearby businesses to deliver a brand new public square at the base of Jumbo – just by the original Roman City entrance to Colchester.”

CNEEBPT/Mike Cameron Photography

If everything goes to plan, it will be at least two years before building work can start to give Jumbo its new lease of life. The present proposals include a split level restaurant. The stunning former water tank, with its unrivalled views, will be used as an intimate hire space for dining and arts, as well as a heritage interpretation area. A new floor will be inserted above the top level of brick arches to house a reception area and small gift shop. Above this, the impressive space of the former engineers’ room will become a bar.

The Trust has pledged to work closely with many community groups, including schools and colleges, to ensure everyone has access to Jumbo and can be inspired by this unique piece of industrial heritage.

So hopefully, within the next few years, the dream for many Colchester residents of at last being able to take in the view from the top of this unique building will become a reality, and Jumbo will live on, restored to its former glory and with a new purpose for the generations of Colcestrians to come.

Simon Crow


Turtle Bay Colchester – Review


I make no secret of my love of the Caribbean and its cuisine, nor of my delight at the opening of Turtle Bay on Colchester’s High Street just before Christmas. Several trips to Jamaica have given me a taste for such local delights as jerk chicken, curry goat and beef patties washed down with Red Stripe beer and rum based cocktails.

So the chance to along to what has fast become one of Colchester’s favourite restaurants to enjoy some of Turtle Bay’s delicious food and let you know what I thought about it was not one I was going to pass by!

We booked for Friday night, traditionally one of the busiest nights of the week, and when we arrived the restaurant was already busy and the standalone ‘island hut’ bar was buzzing with the Friday night crowd enjoying classic cocktails with a Turtle Bay twist made from a choice of a staggering 40+ hand-picked rums from across the Caribbean, as well as a magnificent mix of their signature cocktails too.

The Caribbean laid back vibe is all around you in this beach shack themed restaurant, the design of which is unique to Colchester and includes an open ‘street kitchen’ and a raised veranda seating area at the back of the main dining area, along with reclaimed wood and chequer-plate, lights hanging from beer crates and giant paintings on brick walls to complete the look. And, of course, reggae music playing in the background!

We decided to skip the bar and went straight to our table where we ordered drinks from our waitress. I ordered a Red Stripe to recapture the feeling of that first beer at the hotel pool bar after a long tiring day of travelling to Jamaica, and my partner decided to try a Reggae Rum Punch which apparently “hit the spot.” Nuff said!

After changing our minds several times about our starters thanks to the mouth-watering choices which included my favourite, Beef Patties, as well as such delights as Duck Rolls and the very tempting Jerk Glazed Pit Ribs, which will of course mean further trips back to sample them, we decided to share a Seafood Platter. It did not disappoint and there was ample food for us both, which included curried fish roti flatbread, chilli squid, crispy panko whitebait, sweet corn fritters, mango mole with herb mayo and a green salad. This turned out to be the perfect starter, or ‘cutter’ as they call it down Turtle Bay way.

After a short interval to let our starters go down our main courses were brought by our cheerful waitress. It is so noticeable at Turtle Bay how enthusiastic the staff are, and how knowledgeable they are about the menu, and tonight was to be no different as they took exceptional care of us as usual. I had decided to try the Guyanese Curry Duck. As a big fan of any Caribbean curries, and duck, I thought this might be the perfect marriage. And it proved to be so with the slow braised duck leg perfectly complemented by the citrus fruit flavours of the curry and served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas and dumplings as good as any you will find in the Caribbean.

My partner had no complaints either about her Jerk Chicken with was also served with coconut rice ‘n’ peas with a sour orange chutney, coconut shavings & Caribbean slaw. She said it was amongst the best she has ever eaten. Praise indeed.

Desserts were up next, though with our appetites now well and truly satisfied these were an indulgence rather than a necessity. Caymanas Upside Down Rum cake for me, with just enough of the rum taste coming through to excite the taste buds but without overwhelming the other flavours, and Spiced Rum and Chocolate Pot for my partner which also did not fail to deliver.

So, as ever, a fabulous dining experience at Colchester’s Turtle Bay, one in which you can lose yourself in the tastes, smells and sounds of the Caribbean for an hour or two.

Simon Crow