After more than ten years of developing into an important cultural facility, Marshchapel Arts at St.Mary's Church now finds itself at a crossroads. There is good news: Edward Mossop has offered to take over the annual exhibition of fine art in early May, and following intense pressure from many who enjoyed hearing VOCES 8 in the autumn Paul Hicks has engaged them to return in September 2018. However, if the project is to continue to grow it urgently needs some fresh blood – younger people with new ideas and energy to undertake the hard work involved. Anyone willing to help in any way is invited to contact Paul Hicks 01472 840642 or email: email@example.com
Our tenth anniversary year left the medieval stonework of St.Mary's Church echoing to the sounds of superb music and basking in the hues and lines of high calibre fine art. Blessed with fine weather, the Exhibition was as ambitious as ever, some 50 artists from Lincolnshire and beyond displaying over 220 works. And with the refreshments marquee at the centre of varied additional attractions in the churchyard, it was also a great social event. The EYMS Brass Band performed in June, delivering with customary aplomb a splendid programme of music from various traditions. And the year's events closed with the return of the supremely talented VOCES 8 who enchanted a huge and appreciative audience.
The year began promisingly, with the annual Exhibition producing some fine work, including that from 9 newcomers, and achieving record sales. As usual the good fare and bonhomie in the refreshments marquee fully complemented the quality of work on display, as did the performance from the Louth Ukulele Band on the final afternoon. Regrettably the June concert had to be cancelled owing to the indisposition of Adele Dixon; we are delighted to report that she is now back to good health and singing beautifully. The autumn concert by the Louth Male Voice Choir was only modestly supported, which was especially regrettable since they can rarely have sung so impressively; the people of this part of Lincolnshire don't always appreciate this musical treasure in their midst.
During the nine years that we have been in existence, provision of arts events in the area has dramatically increased as other places have explored this secular element of their potential. We are pleased to have remained faithful to our core principle of high quality during 2015. The annual exhibition of fine art was moved to the early May bank holiday weekend, where it will remain in 2016, and the standard of work on display was again impressive. Voces 8 returned in June to give their third concert in St.Mary's in four years - they regard Marshhchapel as their Lincolnshire home - and their singing was as ever superb, so much so that the audience made very clear their reluctance to let them go. The autumn concert was by the EYMS Brass Band, and if their ensemble playing was magnificent their soloists' performances were truly outstanding; a packed audience was thrilled. The season closed with the anniversary organ recital.
Events during 2014 attracted a healthy number of guests to St Mary’s Church. A broad range of musical styles was represented in four major concerts between June and October, beginning with quartets by Haydn, Schubert and Mendelssohn performed in typically accomplished style by senior members of London Mozart Players. Then in September the masters of traditional jazz, New Orleans Heat, delighted an enthusiastic audience, followed two weeks later by a highly entertaining concert from The London Quartet “Cantabile”. Finally, the Anniversary Organ Recital – managing to go ahead despite nature’s attempt to drown the organ – presented works by Bach, Elgar, Mendelssohn and Langlais. The 2014 Exhibition was appropriately advertised as a “Three Counties Exhibition”, with artists from Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire joining many of Lincolnshire’s finest. A gratifyingly high standard was maintained, many of the exhibitors being winners of prestigious national awards.
The 2013 season fully honoured our commitment to the highest possible standards in our cultural events. Two concerts in June, first with the East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band and then with the appearance on a Sunday afternoon of the Dutch choir Groninger Christelijk Mannenkoor Albatros, both struck the right note. The Band’s technical brilliance and skilfully crafted ensemble playing has never been better, while the Dutch choir’s sure intonation and range of timbre were truly revelatory. Our annual Exhibition of Fine Art in July brought six new artists to Marshchapel, contributing to what most visitors declared to be our best Fine Art Exhibition to date. As always, additional special interest stalls in the churchyard, not to mention our renowned refreshments marquee, added appropriate icing to the cake of what constitutes a thoroughly good day out. In the autumn, traditional jazz returned in the form of New Orleans Heat; though cutting their arrival at St Mary’s a shade fine following a long journey, they displayed no hint of weariness in their spirited performance. Three weeks later, back by popular demand, Voces 8 returned – there can be no finer a cappella singers in the land, and a packed house testified to this with rapturous appreciation. As with London Mozart Players performers last year, Marshchapel Arts was delighted to arrange a schools’ workshop in Cleethorpes by the eight singers on the previous day. Our 2014 season closed with the annual Organ Recital on Sunday 20th October.
There were two novelties in the 2012 season. The first was an amazing and eclectic performance of a cappella singing by VOCES 8 in June. Then at the close of the season Snake Davis with Burden of Paradise was rapturously received by the audience. The July Exhibition of Fine Art was again of a very high quality, with a number of new artists from further afield both in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire. This year the weather was kind, and the relaxed atmosphere in the marquee, with drinks and teas and cakes and lunches, was much enjoyed by all who came over the three days. In September there was what one might call a semi-novelty when London Mozart Players returned with string quartets, but additionally on this occasion Marshchapel Arts was delighted to arrange some extremely successful workshops run by the players for schools in Grimsby and Marshchapel.
Our 2011 season began in fine style in May with a concert kindly donated by Richard Pardy, who was joined by the Leo Solomon Trio, and with the East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band just a few weeks later making a highly welcome return visit. The July Exhibition was enjoyed by all 680 who attended; the quality of some of the work was astounding. In September the London Mozart Players returned but without ELDC subsidy – so there only four of them. However, the programme of string quartets they played was quite exceptional.
The 2010 Season was a resounding success. First in June the popular Louth Male Voice Choir, with interval barbecue, followed by a return of the London Mozart Players just two weeks later – this concert being the last in their East Lindsey residency. Our Marshchapel Arts Exhibition in July saw the works of over seventy artists on display, including a group from Abbey Walk Gallery in Grimsby. The event was extended more fully into the old churchyard this year, with plants from Lincolnfield Nursery, specialist preserves, a quality pottery stall, and historic St Mary’s displays – as well as extensive catering facilities in the large marquee with master-chef Mike Grubb at the helm.
2009 was an equally active year, beginning in June with the popular return of The New Riverside Jazzmen. Again in July we held our Fine Art Exhibition, welcoming increased numbers of visitors and including for the first time some sculptural work. The award-winning East Yorkshire Motor Services Brass Band provided a most enjoyable and virtuosic autumn concert, and an organ recital in October followed by a Ceilidh in the village hall in November rounded off another successful season.
In 2008 we enjoyed five major events. In June, the Louth Male Voice Choir visited. July was the month chosen for our first Exhibition of Fine Arts with 50 artists and nearly 500 visitors. In September that year, the internationally acclaimed cellist Paul Watkins gave a recital to a packed church; he was accompanied by his brother Huw, and the concert included a world premiere performance. Colin Walsh, the brilliant Organist Laureate at Lincoln Cathedral, gave in October the inaugural recital on St Mary’s recently installed Forster & Andrews organ. And in November local master chef Mike Grubb demonstrated food and drinks preparation for A Victorian Christmas.
Our 2007 season saw two highly appreciated concerts, in June by the Kingsway Printers Brass band and then by the New Riverside Jazzmen in September, the latter of which enjoyed the benefit not only of our usual drinks marquee but the additional New Orleans-style treat of freshly barbecued Po-Boys!
The outstanding success of the June concert by the London Mozart Players in June 2006, followed by equally inspiring exhibitions - Queen Anne’s Lace, Daisy Day and Lincolnshire Heritage weekends - confirmed to us the suitability of our magnificent Grade 1 listed Church for cultural events.