Lunchtime concerts planned after town council gets piano

st marys church bungay

The Bungay Lunchtime Concerts will take place at St Mary's Church. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A three-month series of lunchtime concerts will be held in a market town this summer in a bid to attract visitors and showcase local musical talent.

The Bungay Lunchtime Concert series will feature a range of performances, including classical piano, acoustic rock, folk and song recitals, as well as folk tales, book readings and contemporary classical music performances.

The performances will take place over 12 weeks at St Mary's Church, with the plan coming after Bungay Town Council agreed to take ownership of a £1,800 grand piano.

William Drew-Batty performed daily symphonies from his Bungay balcony in the first lockdown

William Drew-Batty from Bungay, played a blend of classical tunes, his own compositions, and even 80s music for his neighbours for twenty minutes every day during the first lockdown. - Credit: William Drew-Batty

Local professional musician and series director William Drew-Batty said he was delighted to launch the opportunity for both amateur and professional performers in the town.

He said: "This is a terrific time for everyone to experience some great live performances.

"It has been a particularly tough period for the performing arts and Bungay is now providing the opportunity to experience live music, drama and readings on a weekly basis.

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"I am particularly pleased to be able to include The Young Performers Showcase concerts during the series, providing talented young performers a platform to gain valuable experience."

The lunchtime concerts have been planned to coincide with the town's market day on Thursdays, starting with pianist William Fergusson on July 1.

Chloe Drew-Batty, 17, will be among the young performers featured, performing under her artist name Pearll.

Chloe Drew-Batty, 17, will be among the young performers featured, performing under her artist name Pearll. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Young Performer showcases will then be held on July 8, with sopranos Florence McMorran, Charlie Wilks and Isabella Taylor; July 22 with Pearll; August 5 with pianist Christian Carter and September 9 with baritone Leon Bedwell.

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Mr Drew-Batty will perform on July 15, with soprano Claudia Simone following on July 29.

Folk group Syzewell Gap will take to the stage on August 12, followed by pianist Elizabeth Stacey on August 19 and a book reading from Victoria Panton Bacon on September 2.

Mr Drew-Batty, who performed to neighbours in Bungay from his balcony throughout the first national lockdown last year, will close the series alongside Mr Fergusson on September 16.  

The town council faced criticism last month after a proposal to buy the piano was included on an agenda released ahead of a meeting, where it was revealed the cost would be privately funded and would not cost taxpayers a penny, with the Friends of St Mary's group covering the costs of the piano.

Concerts will begin promptly at 1pm and last for around 50 minutes. Seating will be well-spaced to follow social distancing guidelines, and entry is by donation only.

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