For some reason, I was not expecting the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death to be as magnificently celebrated on the BBC as it was, with the live show from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.
Sometimes, getting the greatest and most talented performers together to rehearse, for instance, can be problematical. But on this occasion we were treated to some wonderful and inventive interpretations of the work of that remarkable man, produced for aristocracy and peasant folk alike four centuries ago.
And in the right hands, his words and creations can still captivate a modern audience and inspire across the board.
Anyway, if you too are keen on good music, drama, art, literature, crafts, walks, talks or local history, then over the next month in Wycombe you will be spoilt for choice as the 52nd annual Wycombe Arts Festival unrolls its ambitious and eclectic programme. There is unarguably something for everybody.
As an aficionado of brass bands (my northern roots showing there) I was sorry that I was unable to attend the Great Marlow Bandfest last Saturday in the Marlow Parish Church, but there are many other musical offerings between now and the end of May that present the talents of our local young (and not so young) musicians, as well as professional musicians from home and overseas. But in some cases choices may have to be made. If you wish to hear our own consistently excellent orchestra, Wycombe Sinfonia, playing the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in the Parish Church in Wycombe, you’ll have to miss out on seeing Les Baladins de Marly-le Roi perform Noel Coward’s very English play, Hay Fever in French, in Bourne End!
I certainly plan to go to one of the lunchtime concerts at Marlow Parish Church where there are several opportunities to hear the resonant and sublime tones of their splendid church organ.
There are also Wednesday lunchtime recitals at the Union Baptist Church in Easton Street for those of you who, like me, enjoy the luxury of freedom in the daytime – although they are all timed to fit in with the normal time allotted by most employers for lunch, starting at 1-10.
Check online at http://www.wycombeartsfestival.org/ where you can download a programme or pick one up at many local outlets. Tickets for events can be acquired at any of our local information centres or libraries.
I promise you’ll find something irresistible.