Virtual classical concerts

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With the cancellation of live music events there are still plenty of ways to get your musical fix, from organisations far and wide who are using online platforms to share their work.

Local music charity Grayshott Concerts has been putting on shows at St Luke’s, Grayshott, for fifteen years. Starring world-class performers from the world of classical music including Sir Karl Jenkins, Howard Shelley, Nicola Benedetti and more, they already had a packed programme lined up for 2020.

Founder Peter Harrison has some suggestions for his favourites:

Grayshott Concerts’ patron Karl Jenkins has joined forces with the 10,000-strong Stay at Home Choir to undertake an ambitious ten-week project bringing together voices from lockdown to perform highlights of The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace, to mark its 20th anniversary.

The orchestra-in-residence, the London Mozart Players has created a whole series of videos under the banner At Home with LMP featuring Mozart Mondays, Chamber Tuesdays, Thursday Thoughts, Family Fridays and Saturday Sessions. They’ve even created some personalised messages just for Grayshott fans.

www.grayshottconcerts.co.uk / www.londonmozartplayers.com/athome/

Choir-in-residence Excelsis Choir have taken their rehearsals online and are now Zooming regularly. A number of virtual choirs have also sprung up – music therapy charity Nordoff Robins welcomes singers of all backgrounds and abilities for a weekly sing-a-long on Tuesdays at 4pm. www.nordoff-robbins.org.uk/online-choir/

The London Symphony Orchestra has a digital programme including twice-weekly full-length concerts, playlists and activities to keep younger music fans busy. They also have a YouTube channel packed with more than 500 videos. www.lso.co.uk

The BBC has created ‘Culture in Quarantine’ to bring arts and culture into your home, both from the archives and fresh content from newly-formed groups like the BBC Lockdown Orchestra  https://www.bbc.co.uk/arts

Several past performers are doing sterling work on their own social media channels, including the singing schoolboy Cai Thomas, from Farnham. Making the most of Facebook and Twitter, Grayshott Concerts has also established its own new fortnightly e-news which currently goes out to over 1,600 subscribers.

Hailed as “an excellent way to keep connected” and “really enjoyable and insightful” by readers, the mailers combine current news from the classical music world along with retrospectives of past concerts in anticipation of the time when we will once again be able to bring world-class music to Grayshott and the surrounding area.

Salute our Forces

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Our Armed Forces are something for us to be proud of at any time as they work to keep us safe and now they are helping to fight coronavirus

Armed Forces Day on Saturday, 27th June, is the chance to show your support for those who make up the Armed Forces community whether they are serving troops, their families, veterans or cadets.

There are many ways to get involved and show your support and while this year things are very different due the current restrictions, it’s important to acknowledge the part our Armed Forces are playing in the fight against coronavirus.

The national celebration in Scarborough has been cancelled as have the local parades and tributes but that doesn’t mean you can’t still say thank you.

#SaluteOurForces is a simple way for anyone to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces for their hard work, dedication and efforts to and keep everyone safe in the UK and across the world. Send a photo or video of yourself or your friends and colleagues saluting, find out how to do it properly at https://www.armedforcesday.org.uk/get-involved/saluteourforces/ – did you know the Royal Navy salute differently to the Royal Air Force and the British Army?

Show your support for our Armed Forces and help provide a much-needed morale boost as they work not only to defend the UK and its interests around the world but at the moment through the Covid Support Force.

As part of their work in the fight against the coronavirus, the Armed Forces have helped with the building of the new hospitals, providing test centres, delivering vital PPE and ventilators and working with the ambulance service.

Find out more

Show your support, visit

Wallingford vehicle rally

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The popular annual Wallingford Vehicle Rally & Parade has been cancelled this year but the organisers are keeping their fingers crossed for a ‘mini lockdown parade’ on August 2nd.

They say: “We are currently in negotiations to hold a short driving tour around the area on Sunday 2nd August for all those purchased any ticket for this year’s event.

“We are currently working on a route that won’t cause disruption to the usual traffic and will contact everyone via email very soon with details.”

It will be free of charge, but they ask you make a small donation in the collection buckets on the day or via the crowd funder link that will be set up nearer the time so we can then share this with the local charitable causes who usually benefit and are struggling for funding during these trying times.

Organisers added: “Thank you for your patience, we are disappointed we are unable to hold the event this year but the health of participants, traders, staff and general public have to be our prime concern. Stay safe and we will be in touch with ticket holders this week and please keep an eye on our social media for updates for Sunday 2nd August 2020 mini lockdown parade.”

Info

All those who purchased tickets for the 2020 event can either request a refund (follow the link on your ticket confirmation) or your purchase will be valid for the 2021 event which will be held on Sunday, 9th May 2021. If they don’t hear from you, they will simply send you information and wrist bands in April for the event.

GladRags Project

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West Horsley Place is inviting members of the local community to help create an artwork that explores ‘what makes us glad right now’.

Devised by local artist Diana Burch in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the GladRags project asks people, including children, to create a small patchwork square that captures ‘what makes you feel glad’. Everyone is invited to take part, making use of what can be found at home, from rags to remnants.

Once the current lockdown has been lifted, these patchwork squares will be collected by West Horsley Place and brought together to make a large artwork that will be a record of how the community came through this extraordinary time.

Launched in Haslemere in partnership with Haslemere Museum, the GladRags project is now being rolled out across Surrey. West Horsley Place is delighted to be helping residents of Guildford and the surrounding area to take part.

Diana Burch said: “Coronavirus is a huge event in human history. The GladRags project wants to step in as history is made and provide a community record of how we came through isolation and learned to value the little things, the things that make us glad right now.

“Creativity is a wonderful way to relax, focus and build self-esteem – and is very much needed at the current time. Every square will be welcomed – regardless of classic needlework skills!

“I want to thank the cultural hubs and museums that are enabling this project to take place. When this is all over, we can all get together to celebrate creativity and community spirit once more.”

Clare Clinton, Operations Manager at West Horsley Place, adds: “We are delighted to be taking part in the GladRags project with our local community. By reflecting on what makes us glad despite this difficult time we will create a patchwork that will be a celebration of our community’s resilience.

“We were so looking forward to opening the doors of West Horsley Place this spring. Although this has been delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, our charity remains committed to creating here a welcoming space for the community to share and enjoy with arts, culture, community, history and nature at its heart.

“Until we can be together, we look forward to seeing pictures of your wonderful patchworks which we will share for everyone to enjoy.”

How to Take Part

Participants are asked to create a 15cm square, with a small extra allowance for a border so that the patchworks can be stitched together, using any material available. This might be a remnant, an odd sock – or a rag. Decorate the square to reflect ‘what makes you feel glad’ using thread, glue, buttons and bits and bobs accessible at this time.

For participants who would like to share their patchworks now, please email a photograph to [email protected] Photos will be shared on the West Horsley Place website and through the charity’s social media channels.

For further information visit

Art from your armchair

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 Local artists open up virtual exhibition for Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival

Artists looking forward to welcoming the public to their studios for Oxfordshire Artweeks are now doing so virtually until May 25th.

The 13 resident artists and associate members of Ayres House Studios, Wallingford, were looking forward to inviting visitors into the previously derelict building; throwing open their studio doors to exhibit both art work and studio space – now sadly impossible due to social restrictions.

In October 2019 the artists took over Ayres House on Station Road. The building was used as a rectory until the 1950s and had been empty for many years and was officially opened with a launch celebration in December.

Studio Manager, Emma Souter of Adumbration Arts said: “It’s such a lovely building with so much potential, I think it needs us as much as we need it.”

On show ‘virtually’ will be paintings, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, upholstery, jewellery, photography, installations, artist’s books, performance and art restoration. The artists are from both academic and self-taught backgrounds, including those from high art, conceptual, fine art and applied crafts.

Daily content will be shared to provide a creative overview from the studios, highlighting what the artists have been doing before and during the coronavirus.

Among those helping out has been Becky Colwell who has used her textile skills to help make scrubs for the NHS and is looking forward to being able to teach sewing classes when the studios re open to the public.

Emma of Neoteric Dance Company has created a new dance film A Home in Isolation, documenting the experiences faced by so many at this time. Alongside this she is also supporting individuals who may be struggling emotionally and physical at this time, by offering virtual spaces to talk and process their experiences, seeing her transfer her Dance Movement Psychotherapy skills to a virtual platform.

During lockdown the studio is welcoming applications from artists who would like to join the studios and for those who would like to join as associate members. They are also seeking proposals for community and collaborative projects so they are ready for when restrictions are lifted. Once back they will re-open Monday Makers and the various courses, workshops and exhibitions which were suspended due to Covid19.

Until then why not visit Ayres House Studios online from the comfort of your homes throughout May.

During Artweeks there will be a chance to view works online via https://www.artweeks.org/festival/2020/ayres-house-studios and on the Studios social media pages https://www.facebook.com/ayreshousestudios and https://www.instagram.com/ayreshousestudios where new posts will be shared daily throughout the festival.

More info

For those interested in visiting Ayres House, signing up for a class or joining the studios after restrictions have eased, please email [email protected] or call Adumbration Arts on 01865 819869.

Cotswold Challenge

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Teenagers aged 16-19 are being invited to take the Cotswold Challenge for the chance to win cash prizes by showing off their skills and talents.

It is an opportunity for young people, who had their GCSEs and A-levels cancelled, to take part in a challenge to excel and gain a sense of achievement as well as winning a prize.

The Cotswold Challenge has three categories: Art & Design; Creative Writing; Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking. Budding artists, sculptors, authors, poets and entrepreneurs can enter one or all three categories as many times as they like.

The Art and Design Challenge

Express your artistic talents in any medium: fine art, graphic design, sculpture, print-making, illustration, photography

The Creative Writing Challenge

Entries are invited for short stories/plays/scripts/poems that could be inspiring, reflective of what’s happening in the world today or thoughts about the future, in any genre

The Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking Challenge

Do you have a great idea for a product, service or campaign that would benefit the world? How could we improve the planet or environment or our way of life?

There are four prizes in each category of £500, £300, £150 and £50, which has already been donated in full by several generous sponsors (full list can be seen online).

After the competition, winners will be able to pitch for additional funds to take ‘the next step’ towards showcasing their work eg publishing their poem or short story; staging their own art exhibition or taking their innovative idea to an early prototype stage.

The Cotswold Challenge is a brand new innovative initiative, which launched on Monday, 20th April, and has a deadline for entries of 9pm on Monday, 1st June.

Entry

Entry is free and you can get a briefing pack and entry details

The Cotswold Challenge has been created by The Cotswold Collective – a team of five self-employed, professional business men and women, all of whom are members of the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club: Nigel Chute of Chute Design; Barry Jackson of Aspire Academy; Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design; Chris Roberts MBE, founder of the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club and freelance journalist; and Fiona Scott of Fiona Scott Media

2.6 Challenge

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Thousands of you should no doubt have been running in the London Marathon tomorrow, Sunday, 26th April, and aside from the personal disappointment, charities large and small will miss out on the millions the annual event raises.

The Virgin Money London Marathon is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, raising more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities in 2019.

Many of these charities have had to reduce or stop services at a time when vulnerable members of society need them most; thousands of staff have been placed on furlough and many charities will not survive the next few months.

The 2.6 Challenge has been set up to help save the UK’s charities and you don’t need to be a runner to take part.

All you need to do is dream up an activity based around the numbers 2.6 or 26 that suits your skills and complete it on Sunday, 26th April – when the 40th London Marathon would have taken place.

The 2.6 Challenge can be any activity you like – from running 2.6 miles to holding an online workout with 26 of your friends.

Whatever your age or ability, you can take part – it’s not just for superheroes but for home heroes.

Choose your #TwoPointSixChallenge, head to the ‘donate or fundraise’ buttons on the website to save your chosen charity, then complete your challenge.

Whether you’re running around the balcony for 2.6 miles, doing 26 press-ups with the dog on your back or bench-pressing 26 kilos with your grandchildren, your help to save the UK’s charities which have all been affected by the impact of the coronavirus.

Do your bit

Help to inspire the nation by sharing pictures or videos of your challenge on social media using the official hashtag #TwoPointSixChallenge to be part of the campaign.

Town and Gown

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Muscular Dystrophy UK is inviting the 6,000 plus runners who annually sign up to Oxford Town and Gown to safely run, jog or walk at home in this year’s virtual event for the famous race now in its 39th year. 

Inspired by people running marathons in their gardens and driveways, registrations are open for this year’s race – taking place from now until 6th May.

People like Adam Smith who had signed up to do an amazing four laps of this year’s Town and Gown 10k are leading the way by registering their own version of a ‘Lockdown Run.’

Race Director at Muscular Dystrophy UK Jessie Keighley said: “The beauty of a ‘virtual’ race is that we’re no longer tied to one location. So, if you know of friends and family up and down the country who would like to join in then get them to register here

“We need your help now even more than ever. Coronavirus has left us battling to fill a £2.8m gap in our funding from lost events just at the moment when the people we help are in real need of our support.”

Anyone who has already registered to run the Oxford Town and Gown will receive a link inviting them to register free for the virtual event and this will explain the process of taking part.

Once people have completed the event, they can log back into their race nation account and upload the date and time they took part as a ‘proof’. As soon as our offices re-open they’ll be sent a well-deserved medal.

How to take part

For more information and to register to take part online

Guildford Jazz Fest

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The team behind Guildford Jazz are getting ready to hold their first festival this month
with a variety of jazz –as well as funk and Latin – on the bill

Guildford Jazz are getting ready to blow their own trumpet as the first Guildford Jazz Fest is set to take place between 20th and 22nd March.

The three-day event at Guildford’s Electric Theatre will feature music from leading UK jazz, Latin and funk artists and begins on 20th by putting some of the best young jazz musicians from across Surrey in the spotlight, from small ensembles to big bands.

Ease yourself into Saturday with a New Orleans jazz brunch with live music from clarinet maestro Duncan Batchelor and his quartet. Follow that with a wide choice of jazz styles including rising star of the British jazz scene Nicolas Meier who is influenced by his love of Middle Eastern and Turkish music; funk and world-music roller coaster from renowned trombonist Dennis Rollins Velocity Trio and Sandy Burnett reliving The Age of Jazz.

Rounding off Saturday, Pete Churchill sings jazz before headliner Iain Ballamy performs 21st Century Pastoral, an arrangement for big band of music by Ballamy spanning his 30-year career.

Sunday brings Alan Barnes and Dave Newton before a Creole jazz lunch spices things up ahead of the afternoon offerings featuring a tribute to the music of Henry Mancini from The Mark Nightingale/Alan Barnes/Steve Waterman Sextet before a showing of classic Buster Keaton film Steamboat Bill, Jr featuring live musical accompaniment by Gareth Williams, one of the country’s leading modern jazz pianists.

Photos from left: Ian Ballamy, event poster, Marianne Windham

The festival finishes with Latin jazz salsa 
courtesy of Heads South combining Cuban and other Latin rhythms.

Founder of Guildford Jazz which is behind the festival, Marianne Windham is excited about the first for the community-based arts organisation.

She said: “The festival represents a celebration of all that Guildford Jazz is about: bringing the finest UK jazz musicians to Guildford to play a wide spectrum of accessible music in a friendly-club like atmosphere. There is something for everyone in the programme whether you are just looking for great live music or are a committed jazzer.”

Guildford Jazz has been running regular events since 2011, has organised more than 250 gigs, holds two outdoor concerts a year as well as hosting a monthly jam session.

All profits from the festival will go the local charity partner Guildford Philanthropy which helps local people disadvantaged by disability, poor education, mental illness or caring responsibilities.

Find more details

For more details and to book tickets click below or call 01483 501200.

Hockney’s way

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Spanning six decades of work, David Hockney: Ways of Working takes an in-depth look at the artist’s genius and shows there’s much more to him than just swimming pools.

Hockney has explored a variety of media – painting techniques, printmaking skills, photography and designs for the stage as well as embracing the iPad and Photoshop among other technologies.

The exhibition at The Lightbox in Woking which runs until 19th April will delve deeper into his work and will include photos of Hockney seen working in his studio creating paintings, drawings and prints. Visitors will also be able to see a 14-page letter never seen before which describes his processes in his own words.

Hockney is probably best known for his series of Californian swimming pools but one of the largest sections of the exhibition is devoted to his methods of printmaking. Also on display are drawings in watercolour, chalks, pencil and ink as well as digital illustrations on the iPad, merging drawing with his fascination with new technology.

Throughout the exhibition there will be hands-on learning activity in the Main Gallery, enabling children and families to engage with the artwork. As part of Hockney week, during half-term, children will be invited to contribute to a large mosaic-style artwork, reflecting the artist’s processes.

The exhibition will also feature a selection of talks, tours and creative workshops.

More info..

For more information about these and the exhibition David Hockney: Ways of Working