Exciting Chichester programme ahead for the Funtington Music Group

Ensemble Reza
Ensemble Reza

A strong and busy 2019 programme will see Funtington Music Group continue to build on its rich tradition of offering lecture recitals in Chichester.

Meetings are held at 7.30pm on Wednesdays (monthly January to June and September to November) in the Chapel of the Ascension, Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester – and it is the FMG’s firm bond of friendship with the university which makes the group unique, its organisers believe. Chairman Chris Hough and colleague Chris Coote are delighted with the programme the group will offer for 2019.

January 16: A return by Ensemble Reza who will play Dvorak’s String Sextet in A major and Schoenberg’s Verklarte Nacht.

February 13: Performing Bach and Scarlatti on the Piano, Virginia Black shows how to bring the music to life on a modern concert grand piano.

March 13: The Earth Laughs in Flowers: Pippa Dames-Longworth (mezzo) and Nicholas Bosworth (piano) celebrate the seasons.

April 17: University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert – six selected undergraduates compete for the £1,500 Prize Fund.

May 8: Crispin Ward with the University Chamber Orchestra give a concert of English string music, featuring Piers Adams.

June 12: Summer Buffet Concert –the Endymion Horn Trio perform.

September 11: Bradley Creswick (violin) and Margaret Fingerhut (piano) perform a programme of French masterpieces and special surprises.

October 9: The Marriage of Figaro – baritone Peter Grevatt with Kenneth Roberts (piano )perform arias and share insights from the opera.

November 13: The Ruisi Quartet makes a return following a summer buffet concert of a couple of years ago.

Funtington Music Group was founded in 1992 by Robert Headley at his Funtington home and moved to the university in 2004. As chairman Chris says, the 2019 season continues FMG’s tradition of providing members with excellent musical performance and the opportunity to extend their musical knowledge. The group encourages concert-goers to become members, paying £80 in January for the whole year, with a reducing membership subscription. For example, in April the fee is £55 for the remaining six meetings in 2019: “But we are not just a membership society.

Visitors are welcome to any of our meetings,” Chris said. Tickets are available at £15 each at the door or can be reserved by ringing 01243 378900. The attraction of becoming a member is that you will pay just over half the cost of buying the concert tickets individually. But in addition to the musical entertainment and lectures, the group also works – through its relationship with the university – to help students who are preparing for the start of their musical careers. They do this through the University of Chichester Student Showcase Concert every April and through the instrument library which the FMG set up in 2013 to help students for practice and orchestral performance.

Since 2004, the FMG has given a total of £82,720 in prizes, musical instruments and bursaries – work which is certain to continue following a bequest of £100,000 by Benea Speir in 2017. As Chris Coote says, the relationship with the university works both ways: “It is great from our point of view that we have such excellent facilities for our meetings. We have got a Steinway for our soloists to play and the university is an easy place to find with great parking. From the university’s point of view, they are reaching out into the community. It gives them a higher profile within the community. The Funtington Music Group is not a university group, but we have an excellent relationship with them.” www.funtingtonmusicgroup.org.uk.

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