An excellent 2014 leaves the Funtington Music Group set fair with another busy programme coming up for 2015.
The group is now entering its 12th year at the University of Chichester, and chairman David Tinsley is delighted at the line-up which has come together for the year ahead.
“We had an extremely-good year in 2014,” David says, “because of the variety we offer and also because of the fact we continue to pursue the idea of learning about music while listening to it. We have adopted the idea of the lecture-recital which makes us different to other concert societies who are just concerned with performance. We have that extra dimension.
“We are also very closely focused on getting the best professional musicians to perform and to talk to us except for our student showcase concert every April where we present amateur musicians. But the showcase is extremely important to us because it bonds us with the university very closely.” As David says, the showcase reflects the impressive and increasing quality of musicianship at the university, now home to one of the country’s largest music departments. University head of music Ben Hall is president of the FMG: “And he is very supportive towards us. He often goes around to other music departments in the country and tells them they need something like us! We bring a maturer listening audience into the university.”
In return for hosting the concerts, over the 12 years the FMG has put back more than £43,000 into the university in prize money at the showcase concerts and also in bursaries. The FMG has also contributed significantly in terms of buying instruments for the university.
David and the group welcome visitors to the group’s monthly meetings held at 7.30pm on a Wednesday in the University of Chichester Chapel; the hope is always visitors will become members and so give the FMG the chance to accrue gift aid. Tickets are £15 each (£25 on June 10) in advance from 01243 378900. Annual membership, to include all nine meetings, is £75. www.funtingtonmusicgroup.org.uk: “This year we have had more than 100 members. We are now recruiting. Generally we lose a few people and gain a few people each year. I would love to get up to about 150 people, but if we get to 120, I will be over the moon.”
At the same time, David is also keen to inject new blood into the committee. He cites the example of Chichester’s Music on Sundays club which folded, partly because of an ageing membership, partly because of the difficulty of renewing the committee. David is keen to forestall the problem – and would be keen to hear from anyone, ideally newly-retired, interested in coming on board.
2015 kicks off on January 14 with eethoven’s Late Works. February 11 sees Tom Robson (tenor) with Susan Legg (piano) present The Life of a Professional Musician. March 11 offers Angela Zanders (piano) on The Voice of the Piano: the Music of Frédéric Chopin. April 15 is the student showcase concert, with six university music students, selected by audition, competing for the Robert Headley Memorial Fund. May 13 features Organ and Strings; June 10, the FMG’s summer concert; and September 9, Thomas Gould (violin) with Robert Thompson (piano).