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Preview of Musical Banquet: St Frideswide's Church, Oxford
Dedicated to the patron saint of Oxford City, University, and Dicoese, St Frideswide’s Church in Botley Road was consecrated in April 1872, and is perhaps best known for its Alice Door at north east end of the nave, carved by Alice (in Wonderland) Liddell. Nowadays St Frideswide’s adds many varied events to its regular round of church services, and next Thursday it will play host to Oxfordshire Early Music trio Musical Banquet, who will be presenting a Gala Charity Concert in aid of Church Funds. Musical Banquet started, countertenor Adrian Boorman told me, after his series of chance meetings with the group’s other two members, Tricia McLaughlin and Malcolm Pearce.
“This led us to start to meeting regularly, playing and singing just for enjoyment. These sessions invariably concluded with a hearty meal — our rehearsals still do — giving rise to the idea of a musical ‘banquet’.”
At St Frideswide’s, the group will be stepping back 400 years, to a time long before the church was built. There will be vocal and instrumental works by Purcell, Orlando Gibbons and their English and European contemporaries, interspersed — Adrian promises — with “colourful period anecdotes”. Expect, too, love songs from 17th-century Spain accompanied by baroque guitar and a tribute to poet Robert Burns.
“In anticipation of our forthcoming trip to North East Scotland, when we will be performing in two historic castles,” Adrian explains, “the group has cooked up some new ‘culinary’ delights to mark the occasion. Featuring the work of Burns and his contemporaries, we’ve called it the ‘Haggis’ section — what else?”
Appropriately, complimentary refreshments will be served after the concert, which starts at 7.30pm on April 26. Tickets will be available on the door.