St Pauls Ashford Hill was packed for the launch of the Annual Art with Music Weekend. Among the guests were the Mayor and Mayoress of Basingstoke & Deane, Cllr and Mrs Trayner; the Bishop of Basingstoke, Trevor Willmott; the High Sheriff Frances Hoare; and the Chairman of West Berkshire Council, Keith Lock.
Formally opening the weekend at a Champagne reception and Private View, Sir George said
"Music at Ashford Hill was formed to raise the profile of St Paul's Church as a marvellous venue in which to enjoy music and the visual arts. Last November, Aurelia and I enjoyed a great performance of Vivaldi's Gloria and Mozart's Coronoation Mass here by the Cheam Choral Society."
"It also presents the parish with an excellent centre in which to organise fund raising events such as this one, helping to raise money for St Pauls. Well done Devina Cameron and her team who have been responsible for organising this event - as well as the concerts and the annual Art with Music Weekend for the last two years. During that time, we have enjoyed a wonderful mix of music to appeal to many different tastes - from the Cheam Choral Society to the Andy Dickens Jazz Band and the Reading Male Voice Choir to the Beenham Band. I know many of you will have happy memories of these concerts which are always enjoyable events and, over a glass of wine at the interval, present an excellent opportunity to meet friends and neighbours. Now, as the Series is becoming more widely known, it is also a pleasure to welcome into the community audiences from further afield.
This Art with Music Weekend is a marvellous example of how St Paul's Church can be filled with a wealth of musical and artistic talent- one complementing the other. The works of some 40 artists are on display throughout the church and the organisers are pleased that, for the second year running, the work of local school children forms part of the exhibition. Thanks are due to the teachers involved for their support.
Musicians, who generously give their time to take part during the weekend, include five organists - I have enjoyed listening to Gwen Martin playing Bach and who will continue to play in a moment - as well as the Annharmonics clarinet group, The Orpheus Flutes, the Jones Family Quartet and a local young singer Sarah Mapplebeck.
With so many attractive works of art for sale - and it is never too early to start your Christmas shopping! - do take the time to browse around the exhibition."