Trustee Profiles

Kate Somerby, Chair of the Festival

‘I believe in the value of bringing high quality arts events to this region and am passionate about arts in education’

Kate joined the Festival in November 2020. Her professional life has been in theatre, but classical music was always lurking in the background, sometimes crossing over into her career and sometimes as a hobby.

Kate has previously held Trustee posts both in London and Budleigh – “I think it’s important to invest in your local community. I believe in the value of bringing high quality arts events to this region and am passionate about arts in education”.

Profile

Favourite all time musician: There are so many to choose from, but I think I have to choose Jess Gillam who has been to the Festival twice. She is such a brilliant musician, playing the saxophone, but I also appreciate her commitment to making classical music available to everyone. She has boundless energy.

Favourite piece of music: Much easier – the Mozart C Minor Mass. I first sang it at university, and I have revisited it several times since, both singing in choirs and listening in the audience. When the soprano weaves through the choral underscoring in the Kyrie I am almost moved to tears.

Musical talents: I play violin and piano and sing. I was an Actor Musician for over 20 years, and I have used all my musical instruments onstage, regularly working as a Music Director accompanying from the piano, arranging vocal parts, composing incidental music for shows, playing violin in every imaginable genre from classical to Country & Western. I have even fudged my way through a cello solo, strummed away on the guitar in the rock musical Lennon, played accordion in a production of Twelfth Night, and sung leading roles in quite a few musicals. My husband bought me a harp a few years ago, but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t really had time to practice – it is on my ‘to do’ list. These days I limit my performing to singing in Exeter Festival Chorus.

BMF 2021 highlight: There were several highlights – one was bringing Colourscape to The Green and seeing so many families enjoy the event. That really broke new ground for the Festival. I loved Jess Gillam of course, but hearing the church resonate as Sir Willard White sang gave me goosebumps – what a coup to get him to come to Budleigh Salterton.

Artist most looking forward to performing at BMF 2022: Well, you can tell that I do love the human voice, so Danielle de Niese will be thrilling, I think. I am really looking forward to hearing Ning Feng play the Paganini though.

Fondest Budleigh Music Festival memory: Well as last year was my first Festival I don’t have a lot of memories to compare. I was absolutely thrilled to hear the quality of the lunchtime recitalists – young people, some still at school, entrancing audiences with their skill and passion. One young double bass player, who was part of the Millfield concert was particularly impressive – her name was Woon Ngee Ng. I would love to have her back.

Why people should buy a ticket to this year’s Budleigh Music Festival: Budleigh Music Festival are bringing an array of international performers to your doorstep. I honestly think we have a line-up to rival the Wigmore Hall, but without the need to buy a train-ticket and an overnight stay.

Watching music live, experiencing the event physically and sharing that moment of creativity with the musicians cannot be replicated by listening on your headphones or through speakers. There is something magical about sharing the moment in an audience.

What does Budleigh Music Festival bring to the local community? Apart from bringing additional trade to the town, we are working very hard to make music accessible to the wider community. This year, for the first time, we will be having a British Sign Language signer present for a couple of our concerts, making them accessible to the Deaf community. We are working with local schools, beginning a partnership with Devon Music Hub to allow school-age musicians access to some rehearsals. Colourscape will provide a wonderful experience for families to enjoy colour and sound. And hopefully we will give the local community experiences that will bring pleasure and inspiration.

Thank you, Kate!

 

 

 

David Wright, Marketing Co-ordinator

Anyone living in the South West or holidaying in the area will have a musical feast at the Budleigh Music Festival. They have the chance to hear top quality world-renowned artists in a beautiful setting and enjoy ticket prices at a fraction of the cost in larger cities and venues.’

 

David joined Budleigh Music Festival as a trustee in 2021 after volunteering to help the Festival in 2008. He wanted to get involved because he decided to settle in Exmouth after five years living abroad and, as a music lover, he was keen to help the Festival, then in its early days, to survive and grow.

Profile

Favourite all time musician: There are so many to choose from, but I think I have to choose Jess Gillam who has been to the Festival twice. She is such a brilliant musician, playing the saxophone, but I also appreciate her commitment to making classical music available to everyone. She has boundless energy.

Favourite piece of music: I would say Rachmaninov’s Vespers, a choral piece.

Musical talents: I sing second bass with Exeter Festival Chorus. I love singing the deep notes of Russian religious music which is why I have chosen the Rachmaninov work as my favourite. I also play the piano just well enough to accompany myself for my singing practice at home.

BMF 2021 highlight: The Jess Gillam Ensemble!

Artist most looking forward to performing at BMF 2022: Laura van der Heijden – the winner of the BBC Young Musician of the Year competition in 2014, she has developed into a brilliant cellist.

Fondest Budleigh Music Festival memory: The 2018 Festival was the year that Sheku Kanneh-Mason played at the royal wedding and was booked to play at the Budleigh Music Festival a few weeks later. We had planned to hold this concert in the Temple Methodist Church (capacity 220) but it soon became apparent that we would have to move the event to St. Peter’s Church (capacity 400). His two concerts were sold out and with a long waiting list for tickets. This felt like the Festival coming of age – all because of a lucky booking of a star whose career rocketed.

Why people should buy a ticket to this year’s Budleigh Music Festival: Anyone living in the Southwest or holidaying in the area will have a musical feast at the BMF. They have the chance to hear top-quality world-renowned artists in a beautiful setting and enjoy ticket prices a fraction of what it would cost in larger cities and venues.

What does Budleigh Music Festival bring to the local community? It enriches the cultural experience of people who could not travel to more distant locations and as our educational offering grows, children’s education is enhanced by the chance to enjoy exciting musical experiences.

Thank you, David!

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