I hope you’re all keeping well. As I write this, everyone is looking forward to the long bank holiday weekend. I was reflecting the other day that it’s a pity Handel isn’t around to collect his royalties on ‘Zadok the Priest’ – he would be doing rather well out of all the Jubilee performances!

We’ve just about recovered from the Bristol Early Music Festival, which was hard work but very enjoyable – and very successful. The SWEMF-sponsored workshop with His Majestys Sagbutts and Cornetts was well supported, attracting players of a wide range of winds and strings, and I managed to display a bunch of flyers for SWEMF on the ticket desk, so hopefully we may acquire some new members. Rick, our Diary editor, and his colleagues of the Favonius Collective made a big impression at the Festival Eucharist, and the Gloucester Waites, also involving a number of familiar SWEMF faces, proved as popular as always. Thanks too to all the members who supported the various events.

Another initiative which SWEMF helped to get off the ground is the South-West Baroque Orchestra, the seeds of which were planted at the SWEMF orchestral workshop last November. Thanks to a lot of work by our members Michael Williamson and Jacqui Robertson-Wade, and to the dedication of players who travel to monthly rehearsals in Devon from as far afield as Cornwall, Dorset and Bristol, the orchestra is now flourishing. You can see details of its first three concerts in our events listings. Although the orchestra has no formal link with SWEMF (other than the involvement of quite a few of our members) I hope that those of you who live within reach of Wells, Exeter or Dulverton will be able to come to one of the concerts. And more members are always welcome – visit www.southwestbaroqueorchestra.com for more information.

Now that covid restrictions have loosened up, and most people are feeling more relaxed about attending events, I hope to see many of you at one of our forthcoming workshops. We have a lively programme lined up – we’re particularly pleased that the ever-popular chamber 2 music day will be returning in October at an excellent new venue – details of that and all our other workshops on the website and in the events list. And if you know any young people who might be interested in our events, note that the committee decided recently that those aged 18 – 25 should only pay 50% of the workshop fee.

Whatever your musical plans over the summer – choir concerts, summer schools, music-making with friends – enjoy yourself and keep safe!

– Clare