Congratulations: 2022 Bursary Recipients

Bursaries Awarded by Isle of Wight High Sheriff Kay Marriott at IOW Cantata Choir concert of Handel’s ‘Messiah’ on 27th November 2022.

Report in Isle of Wight Observer: 2nd Dec 2022: by Ros Whistance:

Report in Isle of Wight County Press: 2nd Dec 2022: by Ros Whistance:

“The Cantata Choir celebrated two notable successes on Saturday night – a highly acclaimed sell-out concert, and the awarding of the choir’s first ever bursary scheme to encourage young musicians. 

It was the Cantata’s first return to Medina Theatre since the Covid lockdowns, and it brought to a packed audience a performance of Handel’s Messiah that one audience member said rivalled those she had seen in the Royal Albert Hall and the Royal Festival Hall. 

Under the baton of Rachel Tweddle, the choir delighted the audience in particular for its ‘off book’ rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus, bringing the majority of the audience to its feet in the traditional way. 

The performances of the four soloists were notable for their clarity and storytelling which engaged a surprisingly youthful contingent of the audience. 

The ringing voice of soprano Sian Roberts, the chocolatey tones of contralto Samantha Lewis, the vibrancy of tenor Jack Parry and the deep richness of bass Jon Stainsby held the audience spellbound. 

Before the music began, recipients of the Cantata’s first ever bursary scheme were presented with their awards by IW High Sheriff, Kay Marriott. 

Choir chairman Geoff Kirk explained the origin of the scheme: “Cantata choir decided that some of the monetary reserves we had would be well used to help with other musical projects on the Island, one of which is to support young people. 

”To that end we invited youngsters between 11 and 19 from the Island to apply, stating their interest, their commitment, and their achievements so far with their given instrument. There were 27 applications and we selected ten for audition.” 

They performed before the panel of Cantata’s musical director Rachel Tweddle, long-term accompanist Richard Wilkins, and Geoff Kirk. 

The panel decided on the level of bursary to be granted, to help with the buying of instruments, the paying of fares to go to lessons, and lessons and exams. 

Small amounts of cash were also awarded to some youngsters who didn’t make it as far as auditions.”

Facebook Post: from The Island Free School:

Sad Announcement: Death of Brenda Philpott: Past Chairman

It is with great sadness that we announce the recent death of Brenda Philpott, past Chairman of IOW Cantata Choir. 

Brenda was a senior teacher at Roedean Private School for Girls in Sussex, and taught at Upper Chine School in Shanklin; becoming its Headmistress. 

She was a very enthusiastic, stalwart member of the choir for many years during the 1980s and 1990s, alongside her great friend, and fellow teacher at Upper Chine School, Kate Pugh (who died a few years ago). 

Brenda was well-regarded and served as a committee member; including in the role of Alto Section Leader, and then as a hard-working, reliable and dedicated Chairman, remembered as being “very supportive” to Musical Director at the time, Douglas Potts. 

When Brenda retired from being Head of Upper Chine School, she liked to travel and is remembered for conscientiously arranging her travel dates around the choir’s rehearsal schedule.  

In later years Brenda continued to be a very keen supporter and Patron of the choir. 

Aged 92 years, Brenda died in St Marys Hospital, in the early morning hours of Thursday 3rd November, after a short illness. 

Brenda was not married, and did not have any immediate or extended family. 

Our thoughts and best wishes are with her friends who remember her fondly.