A review of  performances and projects in 2019 and our 2020 plans.

We’ve had another fantastic year and it’s hard to put it all into writing! Above all we’ve loved performing to wonderful audiences in venues old and new as well as doing lots of engaging and exciting education workshops. We’re really grateful for all the support we’ve received throughout the year and thank you to all of you who have come to watch our performances and supported us in other ways.

There are too many highlights to pick! In March we were delighted to be part of the Cambridgeshire Live Music week where we visited 7 schools across the week and performed ‘The Story Orchestra: Four Seasons in One Day’ featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to 1,200 children! We love this project so much, it’s really fun and has lots of different elements to it and we can’t wait for a number of performances in 2020 including at the Beverley Early Music Festival (for a whole week in May!) I’m looking forward to getting my Vivaldi costume out again! We also had a wonderful trip to Edinburgh at the end of August to deliver these workshops in the Edinburgh Book Festival – a fantastic experience.

It has been wonderful to reconnect with audiences in York and we’ve given three sold out performance in the elegant York Mansion House with the delicious York Gin who have been amazing to work with – such a cool collaboration that we look forward to continuing in 2020. Of course we love welcoming audiences who have been to lots of classical music concerts but on both visits to York it was so pleasing to have audience members coming up at the end saying they’d never been to a classical music concert before and had absolutely loved it. It should be our jobs to spread our music far and wide!

One of our favourite venues to perform in has to Wimpole Hall. It was lovely to return three times this year in March (Purcell’s Heroines in the Long Gallery), July (Handel’s Samson in the gardens) and December (A Georgian Christmas in the chapel) What an amazing place – the baroque chapel is such a dream of a place to perform in and always nice to perform in the footsteps of Thomas Tudway, one of our favourite 18th century composers! We had lovely weather for Handel’s Samson in the gardens too, such a dramatic work packed full of amazing music both solo arias and choruses and it was great to tick off one of Handel’s biggest works. We’ll be back in 2020 with an exciting and slightly different summer performance on Saturday 4th July featuring Handel’s pastoral opera, Acis and Galatea and recreating an 18th century pleasure garden… Watch this space!

Our collaboration with National Trust properties is a major part of our year and it’s wonderful to retain strong relationships with Wimpole Hall, Oxburgh Hall and Canons Ashby. It’s a privilege to perform in such historic and beautiful places. We did three sold out gigs at Oxburgh Hall in November and tailoring a programme to fit the recusant catholic history of Oxburgh makes this a unique performance with an important story to tell. We hope to be back in 2020. Canons Ashby Priory has super acoustics and we’re looking forward to returning in May 2020 to perform Bach’s Coffee Cantata and other works.

A big collaboration in 2019 came with the Stamford Georgian Festival. What a place! It was a pleasure to perform to a sold out crowd back in September with a ‘Georgian Celebration’ programme – all the big hits by Handel alongside some lesser known works by Arne, Stanley, Sammartini and Boyce. In a way this concert was in Eboracum in a nutshell – we love performing the great masterpieces but introducing audiences (and us as musicians!) to new composers and works – there’s so much to be discovered! We also performed as a small part of the finale a couple of days later with the amazing outdoor projections which we accompanied with Handel’s Water and Fireworks music.

We’ve really enjoyed working with Peterborough Cathedral for two concerts in March and December and look forward to a return visit in 2020. It was also fantastic to perform as part of the University of Leeds International Concert Series with Bryan White and the Clothworkers Consort – we have some exciting plans for 2020 to continue our celebration of St Cecilia and the amazing music written in the 18th century to celebrate the patroness of music, watch this space!

We concluded our year with our festive performances of Handel’s Messiah which were a great success. Performing in Great St Mary’s in the heart of Cambridge is such a perfect place for Handel’s wonderful music. The night before we continued with our annual performance in the atmospheric church out at Wimpole, a really intimate way to hear Messiah and we look forward to continuing that in 2020. It was lovely to visit Guildford for the first time too, Holy Trinity Church was the ideal venue (a Georgian church) for a Messiah performance – we hope to be back.

We’re still finalising all our plans for 2020 but we’ve got some exciting events planned. We’ll be returning to all of our favourite places and key dates include our opera at Wimpole on Saturday 4th July, Handel’s Messiah in Cambridge on Saturday 19th December (and at Wimpole on Friday 18th December). We’ve got an exciting new collaboration with Hot Numbers Coffee in Cambridge and we’ll perform Bach’s Coffee Cantata in one of their coffee shops on Saturday 30th May. We’re also performing the Coffee Cantata at Canons Ashby on 16th May. Lots more to come and we hope you can join us!

I started with thanks and I will finish with them. Thank you to all our audiences, festivals, National Trust properties and venues that we have worked with – it would be impossible without all the behind the scenes work from all the events staff and volunteers, we look forward to another exciting year in 2020. Finally to all the wonderful musicians who have performed with Eboracum over the last year – it’s a privilege to put all these performances on with first class performers and great friends. Happy New Year and see you in 2020!

Chris Parsons, December 2019.