Fund-raising concert for the Chichester String Ensemble

The Chichester String Ensemble is performing a fund-raising concert in aid of Headway West Sussex, a charity committed to improving lives after an acquired brain injury.

“A smaller group of players performed a concert for Headway West Sussex a couple of years ago, which raised over £700, and we very much hope to match or increase the total raised from this forthcoming concert,” says ensemble director Mark Hartt-Palmer.

The concert takes place in St Paul’s Church, Chichester, on Friday, May 22 at 7.30pm. The programme is: J S Bach – Concerto for Oboe and Violin in D minor, BWV 1060 (soloists: Wendy Carpenter and Mark Hartt-Palmer); Debussy, arr Hartt-Palmer – Suite Bergamasque; Puccini – Cristantemi; and Dvorak – Serenade for Strings

“The Chichester String Ensemble was formed by Jean Greenlees in 2010,” Mark said. “I was director of it, and then she handed over the reins of organising it as well. The idea is that Chichester didn’t have a string orchestra and there is so much wonderful string music to play. I have been involved from the start, directing from the violin or conducting or playing solo.

“It varies in numbers. The last concert we did we needed quite a big ensemble. We had 27 players. This time I think we have got about 18 players. It depends according to the demands of the music. Some of the players are from the local area; some are from the university; some are from further afield, either people I know or Jean Greenlees knows. I have got a list that I email about their availability.

“We usually do at least one concert a year, maybe two. It’s lovely to see the players enjoying the string repertoire, and we do always raise funds for charity.

“The involvement with Headway is through my wife Claire who has been involved with Headway for ten years. She was chairman of Headway for five years. She was involved through her work as a personal-injury solicitor specialising in brain-injured clients.”

The concert is sponsored by George Ide.

Headway works to promote understanding of all aspects of brain injury and provide information, support and services to survivors, their families and carers. In addition, Headway campaigns to reduce the incidence of brain injury.

Its objectives include: to increase awareness and understanding of brain injury and its consequences; and to initiate activities and campaigns which will reduce the incidence of brain injury.

Mark will be the violin soloist in the Bach, with Wendy Carpenter on oboe. Wendy played in the previous Headway concert.

“It’s just Bach really. What more can you say! It’s only the second time I have played it in public. The last time was way back in 1987. I just think it is a lovely piece, with a really beautiful slow movement in particular.”

The Bach was the starting point: “We decided to do play Debussy because we played the Clair de Lune from my arrangement in the last Headway concert.”

Tickets (priced £15, £12 concessions) are available from Chichester Tickets on 01243 813595.

On Friday, May 15 at 7.30pm at St Peter’s, Westhampnett, Mark on violin is joined by Richard Barnes on piano for a spring-themed concert. They will perform Vivaldi’s Spring, Brahms’ Sonata in A major, Dvorak’s Romance and Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending.