Get out and sing in 2015

It’s official – singing is good for you. A number of scientific studies from around the world have demonstrated singing – especially in a choir with other people-  has a number of definite health benefits. More.

You have missed your chance to join Milborne Port Opera this year (more about their upcoming show soon), but there is a local choir in Wincanton which ticks all the boxes.

Spectra Musica, which rehearses in Wincanton Methodist Church on Tuesday evenings,  came together at the beginning of 2006 and, over the years, it has steadily grown and has developed a wide repertoire.

This chamber choir is building a reputation for the refreshing diversity of its programmes and the quality of its performances as shown by the enthusiastic reception of its audiences.  In addition to the three concerts presented each year, the group has also enjoyed performing at charity and private events and recently hosted another successful “Come and Sing” day.

Spectra Musica rehearse on a Tuesday evening in the Methodist Church in Wincanton, and are always ready to welcome newcomers, particularly basses. If you would like to know more, contact Elizabeth Carter: 01747 841431.

On February 28th 2015 there will be a wonderful opportunity to meet their new Musical Director, Peter Leech when he takes the next ‘Come and Sing’ Day in the Cheap Street Church in Sherborne.  Peter is an extremely talented and experienced musician who will be leading us in Lotti’s Requiem and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The Requiem is not a very well known work but is a sublime piece.

Registration will start at 9am and the cost is £15 including music. For more details contact Sarah Bignell  or .

Peter’s first concert with Spectra Musica will be on 21st March 2015  in the Wincanton Catholic Church. The choir will be accompanied as usual by concert pianist Anita D’Attellis who will also be performing. For further information do contact one of the above.


A happy and prosperous New Year to all

Your editor wishes all  subscribers and browsers a happy, successful and peaceful 2015.

The Editor’s new year resolution is to do more and try harder on the blog.

We hope our subscribers (entirely free) will reciprocate by encouraging their friends and contacts to also subscribe,  write the odd article or two, and  take part in some of the discussions which emerge from time to time.

Please feel free to contact the Editor – – if you have anything to publicise locally, or an issue you wish us to raise.

Happy New year!


The place for arts and culture

FTRWe  remind readers that a complete digest of arts and culture in Somerset & Dorset is published every Friday in the Fine Times Recorder.

This blog contains far more information and reviews than the Blackmore Vale Magazine can fit in, and is a must for anyone who wants a good night out  in a theatre or concert hall.

One of the wonders of this area is the enormous breadth of cultural activity. As we have said before – Get out more!

You will find the FTR has a permanent link in our “Blogroll” listed on the right.

But for those who hare short sighted, here it is again. –

Musical thrills them in Yeovil

The Blog’s drama critic, Walter Plinge writes. . .

Yeovil Amateur Operatic Society (YAOS) are currently staging the musical thriller – almost a melodrama – Jekyll & Hyde. A talented cast of singers, actors and musicians wrings every ounce of high drama and pathos from this classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale of a chemically-induced split personality (or the battle between good and evil –Ed) . There are some great show-stopping numbers and some amazing performances from the principals, especially Jekyll/Hyde and Lucy Harris, his ill-fated love interest.

Staging and musical direction are superb, as you would expect from a company with professional standards and big budgets.

Worth seeing. Octagon Theatre, Yeovil, 7.30, until Saturday 11th October

Book tickets

Read a longer review in the Fine Times Recorder

Utopia: still some seats left for Saturday

utopia-poster“Utopia” at Milborne Port Village hall seems to be going down very well, judging by the comments.

Thursday was a sell out, and Friday is fairly full. But there are still tickets for the last night on Saturday, which is often regarded as the best night.

This is probably your only chance to see this rarely-performed comic opera.

Go to original story to see all the comments -Ed


Utopia comes to Milborn Port after Easter

utopia-posterThe award-winning Milborne Port Opera’s next offering ”Utopia Limited” (April 23-26) will delight  anyone who  believes our present situation has been caused by the antics of bankers, politicians, financiers and the absurdities of health and safety bureaucrats.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera is a satire about  finance, royalty, bankruptcy,  celebrity media and the mafia. It revolves around the small South Pacific island of Utopia’s attempts to turn itself into a limited company – with the help of British management consultants. En route, it also takes a swipe at the British Empire, overseas aid, The Lord Chamberlain (plays were censored by him right up to the 1968) and courtship rituals.

The Milborne Port production team have sharpened its satirical edge with some judicious re-writes and updating, which makes it as relevant today as it was to Victorian audiences. In fact it will leave you with the feeling that nothing much has changed.

It is one of G&S’s less well-known works. “ Utopia Limited” is Gilbert and Sullivan’s penultimate collaboration, and it the only G & S opera which has yet to be performed by the Milborne Port company.

Utopia stars its regular singers, including Horsington residents Richard Gaunt, playing the King of Utopia, and Chris Bailward.

Musical director Caroline d’Cruz conducts the talented orchestra. Stand by for a cracking evening.

The show runs at the Milborne Port Village Hall from April 23-26, the week after Easter. Tickets from Telephone 07926 983585.

Visit Utopia and meet its citizens on

More about Milborne Port Opera on

Click on image to see MPO's web magazine
Click on image to see MPO’s web magazine

Horsington has been a great supporter of the MPO over the years, and this year is no exception. The Half Moon is running a minibus/coach to Utopia on Thursday 24th April. It will run from Wincanton via the Cheritons, Horsington, Templecombe and Henstridge. Cost will be £18 per head including admission ticket, interval drinks and canapés. A bargain start to the “season”.

Details and bookings from the Half Moon 01963 370140


Horsington Craft and Music Festival – April 5th

John Samson
John Samson

Fasten your seatbelts for a great Saturday in Horsington. On Saturday April 5th. .Eight bands will play at an all- day music festival, alongside a crafts fair, a model circus exhibition, children’s’ rides, the Castle Carey  carnival bus and a bouncy castle. Full catering will be provided. The venue is the Half Moon pub, and its environs.

There will also be plenty of trade stands selling local crafts, art, books, jewellery, clothing and local produce.

John Samson, who has organized the festival single handed, promises a great day, rain or shine, with something for everyone.

The fair opens at 10 am and the first band starts playing at 10.30

The festival is in aid of the Horsington area defibrillator fund, and the associated VETS (Village Emergency Telephone Service), which will be used to summon the volunteers in case of an emergency.

The festival has a long and distinguished list of 23 sponsors who are supporting the event financially or practically. This includes John Samsom’s company, Somerset Mini Marquees, which is providing all the tentage and weather protection.

The band running order is:
1 pm The Dissipated Men’s Washboard band
2 pm Tom Clements
3 pm King Arthur’s Rock Band
4 pm The Defibrillators
5 pm The 2-foot Moose B
6.30 pm Theya & Band
8 pm Makeshift People Band
9 pm Rip It Up

Looks like being a great day – enjoy!

Milborne Port Opera wins two major awards for “Iolanthe”

Milborne Port Opera, which features two Horsington residents, has won two major awards, against stiff opposition from companies from all over Somerset, in the annual David Beach Awards for musical theatre, presented  by the Somerset Fellowship of Drama.

Milborne Port Opera were nominated by a panel of experts for 3 awards, and won two – Best Chorus, and the David Beach Challenge Trophy, for the way in which they so cleverly transform the Village Hall into a theatre.  Both awards were for MilbornePort’s last show “Iolanthe” by Gilbert & Sullivan, produced by Horsington’s Chris Bailward, directed by Naomi Booth, with Peter Mumford from Wincanton as musical director.

Chris Bailward commented “ We are delighted to win 2 out of 3 awards, against stiff competition. They confirm our ability as choral singers and performers and our commitment to providing great entertainment for our audiences”.

Milborne Port Opera’s next show is Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Utopia Ltd”, a comic opera about  banking, finance, aristocracy, celebrity media and the mafia. It revolves around the small South Pacific island of Utopia’s attempts to turn itself into a limited company. It is one of G&S’s less well-known works, and the production team have sharpened its satirical edge with some judicious re-writes and updating. Both Chris Bailward and Richard Gaunt appear in the show.

The show runs at the Milborne Port Village Hall from April 23-26, the week after Easter. Tickets from Telephone 07926 983585.

Cultural treats in Yeovil (Not a joke)

There’s more going on at Cineworld, Yeovil, than the usual blockbusters and crass rubbish.
Tucked away in the programme where no-one will find them is a veritable treasure trove of live (or recently recorded) performances from The Royal Opera House, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, The English National Opera, The Metropolitan Opera (New York) and leading west end theatres.

We have commented before that the organisers and promoters could do much more to publicise clearly what is showing, when, and how much it costs. The Blog does its bit. For more information go to Good luck!

Here are some examples of the treats in store
National Theatre -Noel Coward’s “Private Lives” with Toby Stephens and Anna Chancellor  6th Feb  7.30  More . . .
 (allow time to load video trailer)
English Nation Opera –Britten’s Peter grimes LIVE  23rd February 3pm
  More . . (Video Trailer)
National Theatre- “War Horse”, LIVE on 27 Feb at 7pm, repeated 13th, 18th and 22nd March (2.30)  March  More . . .

Met Opera – “Prince Igor” LIVE 1st March 5pm More. . . 
Elton John  in Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas  22nd March 6.30 More. . .Elton John
Royal Ballet – Sleeping Beauty LIVE 19th March 7.15 More. . .
Sleeping Beauty
  Bolshoi Ballet LIVE 2nd Feb, 30th March,
More. . .

Met Opera – “La Boheme” LIVE 5th April – Franco Zeffirelli’s production 5th April 5.45  More. . .

New website for Somerset culture vultures

FTRWe moaned about the sudden absence of quality arts coverage in the Blackmore Vale recently. Now, riding to the rescue is a new website covering arts, entertainment and food events in Somerset, Dorset and Wiltshire. FTR -The Fine Times Recorder–  is the brainchild of Gay Pirie-Weir, (who used to write for the Blackmore Vale) and some other notables, including Mark Blackham, David Grierson and Kerry Bartlett, who are all active in the arts.

FTR is updated every Friday with news on what’s on, listings, reviews , ideas for eating out, travel, and books. It has a fabulous array of goodies on offer, and no-one should be stuck for an ideas of what to do at the weekend, or any other day of the week.

We have added FTR to our “Blogroll”, so there will always be a permanent link to the site  in the right hand column of the Blog. We wish the enterprise well.

Horsington Blog links
The Blogroll takes you to just about everywhere you might want to go to from here.