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Sherborne Abbey Festival 2016

PUBLISHED: 09:45 05 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:45 05 April 2016

Sir James and Galway perfrom at Sherborne Abbey

Sir James and Galway perfrom at Sherborne Abbey


Harmonious songs inspired by Shakespeare, rousing sea shanties and ‘The Man with the Golden Flute’ all feature at this year’s festival, writes Liz Burt

Now in its seventeenth season, and with many tourism awards under its belt, Sherborne Abbey Festival draws music lovers from far and wide. And this year’s programme, taking place from 29th April - 3rd May, is full of exciting performances, with something for all tastes and ages. Sherborne Abbey Festival is unique in that seventy percent of all performances are free entry, making it one of Dorset’s most accessible musical events.

This year the Festival welcomes back ‘The Man with the Golden Flute’ Sir James Galway, accompanied his equally accomplished wife, Lady Jeanne Galway. They are performing works by Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn with the Juventus Ensemble and Ruth Rogers.

To mark of the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, one of the world’s finest early music vocal ensembles, Stile Antico, perform a mouth-watering programme of Elizabethan and Jacobean music in The Touches of Sweet Harmony. The Festival also features a performance of devotional music, From the Cradle to the Cross, by the globally renowned British vocal ensemble VOCES8.

In complete contrast, and direct from London’s world-famous jazz club, The Ronnie Scott’s All Stars take to the stage to celebrate The Ronnie Scott Story in the Big School Room.

As always, local musicians play a major role with concerts by jazz, madrigal, choral and chamber ensembles from Sherborne School, Sherborne Girls and Leweston, while the Gryphon School Choirs and Bournemouth Sinfonietta Choir perform a fusion of Tudor-style music and British sea shanties in Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose.

A highlight this year is the Sherborne Festival Chorus - a community-based choir, founded in 2006 by John Baker on behalf of Sherborne Abbey Festival, to encourage local people to sing to a high standard within an informal environment. The 140 members of the Chorus, together with The Sherborne Chamber Choir and Chameleon Arts Orchestra, will present an all-English programme featuring two of our best-loved twentieth century composers, Vaughan Williams and Howells.

From improvisation workshops, poetry and close harmonies to salon baroque, madrigals and classical ukulele - the Sherborne Abbey Festival is an exciting celebration of music and performance and is definitely the place to be this early May Bank Holiday.

To see the full programme, or to buy tickets visit


Events and things to do in Dorset - April 2016 - Helen Stiles rounds up her pick of events happening around the county this month

Open gardens in Dorset - April 2016 - Admire spring blossoms and bulbs in these six glorious Dorset gardens which open for the NGS this month


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