Colchester Classics – Classical Music Picks for October



In Colchester and the surrounding area there always seems to be music available at various festivals, on-going series and visiting international artists at concert venues. Here is a sneak peek at some taking place in October in our musically rich region.

The 65th season of the Stour Valley Arts & Music 2016/2017 series begins with the Calder Quartet from America performing chamber music including Debussy’s only String Quartet (a work that takes me back to my A Level music class when it was one of the set works!) The Calder Quartet is widely recognised as an outstanding ensemble and this concert forms part of its European tour which also takes in London’s Wigmore Hall and concert venues in Zurich, Frankfurt and Madrid. Sunday 9 October 2016 at 4pm in St Mary’s Church, The Street, East Bergholt CO7 6TA.

(01206 298426)

Colchester’s Roman River Festival enters its final weekend of events with the usual varied mix of music.  Friday 30 September  sees Mahler’s Symphony No.1 being performed in a new version for fifteen players plus a rare chance to hear Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin with its story of lust and power. This will be the first time a Mahler symphony has been performed at the Festival. Friday, September 30, 8pm in Stoke by Nayland Church

Saturday 1 October in the same stunning location, international cellist Tim Hugh performs Britten’s Cello Symphony accompanied by the Festival Orchestra. The orchestra will also perform Vaughan William’s heart-felt response to the horrors of World War Two with his Fifth Symphony. Saturday October 1 at 6pm in St Mary’s Church Stoke by Nayland

In complete contrast, the Festival Finale on Sunday 2 October at 4pm showcases much of the education and outreach work which has been taking place over the last few months with a folk-inspired musical journey around the British Isles and beyond.

To view the remaining concerts at the Festival and to check for ticket availability please contact (07759 934860)

Two lunchtime concert series begin early in October.  Firstly, Allan Granville and Christopher Roberts perform piano duets on the Boston piano with Borough Organist Ian Ray playing music by J.S. Bach, Herbert Howells and Alexandre Guilmant. Tuesday October 4 at 1pm, Colchester Moot Hall.

Admission is free with a retiring collection in aid of The Friends of the Moot Hall Organ.

Secondly, the following day also at 1pm Charles Hine (clarinet) accompanied at the piano by Ian Ray presents the first concert in the Autumn Lion Walk Church Lunchtime series. Wednesday October 5, Colchester.

Free entry with retiring collection.

Many Colchester musicians will be performing in the British Clarinet Ensemble’s 21st Anniversary special concert where Charles Hine conducts works including music by Colchester-based composer, Alan Bullard. Saturday, October 2016  at 7.3opm, Stapleford Granary, Bury Road, Stapleford, Cambridge, CB22 5BP.

Tickets from £8 (01572 756128).

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

Start your love affair with Classical Music at and take a minute to watch their company video: 

Liz Leatherdale






Liz Leatherdale

Breakfast with a Conscience

Pete Hope, the man behind GO4 Enterprises and the Market Café in the town’s Holy Trinity Church tells us about his latest scheme, Breakfast Payforward.

GO4 Enterprises origins lie in homelessness, an experience fortunately most of us never have to even contemplate yet experience.

A roof over our head, food in the fridge, warm bed are things we probably all take for granted.

In our Market Café in Holy Trinity Church, Trinity Street, we often have homeless drop in and we help them out whenever we can, having recently initiated a Breakfast Payforward for anyone unable to afford a hot breakfast or hot drink, and we have been amazed and humbled by our customers’ response. Hopefully we can sustain this with continued customer support, no grinding grant making applications, and a simple human response to another human’s need.

Holy Trinity Church

The scheme relies on customers buying a breakfast in advance for someone down on their luck. It costs £5 and is an adaptation of an idea from of Naples where customers of a coffee shop were invited to buy coffee in advance for people in need.

The first day we went “live” Wednesday 14th September, our very first customer of the day was a lad I knew to be on the streets. Coincidentally he had come to us because he had no money – his benefits had been stopped and he had no place to stay – he was sleeping rough on the Hythe Quay, and hadn’t eaten. He looked emaciated to how I remembered him before, his face was bruised and his arms and legs lacerated from being beaten up.

He had been denied a tent from a local charity working with the homeless. The reason being was that they wanted to “see him around” for a longer period of time before giving him a tent. He didn’t have the money to get into the night shelter, and in any event had been banned for a previous misdemeanour.

£3 though for a night in the shelter buys a lot, and is only the price of a coffee, almost, but is a king’s ransom to some people

He had been going round all the charity shops asking if they had a tent they could give him. He found one but they wanted £6, so that’s why he came to us, hobbling on crutches, his foot in a cast, he wanted to know if we could give him a job for the day so he could go and buy the tent and a pillow, which had been put aside for him.

GO4 Cafe

He wasn’t seeking charity from us, he didn’t know about our Payforward Breakfast scheme, he was clutching at straws, desperate for a tent.

We couldn’t give him a paid job for the day, but were able to give him a hot cooked breakfast and drinks.

We went to the charity shop to confirm that his story was true, and it was, so we bought the tent for him out of our petty cash float – explaining why we need a tent in our catering operation will be tricky with our bookkeeper!!.

Some people have a problem accepting Social Enterprises as “proper businesses”. Some would rather the issues that surround homelessness, poor, not be seen in High Street settings where image is paramount.

We counter those views with positive action. In reviving our High Street areas we want to embrace those who are less fortunate, help them eat, work with other agencies that support them, but also serve our own customer base, whose amazing response to our scheme is a big vote in favour of what we are doing.

In every High Street, retail area, there are empty lifeless shops, we brought an empty lifeless Church back into being again… a contemporary resurrection.

If we can do it, anyone can do it.

Colchester Borough Council extended us an opportunity, but how long we can remain is unknown as our future tenure in doubt. The principle worked here and can work anywhere. The challenge to the council is to continue supporting “edgy” initiatives, because they bring life and diversity, as well as commercial activity in disused buildings.

Pete Hope