Choose with care

Tony Olsson is quite right to say that churches were never intended as orchestral concert venues (“Hall or nothing”, Opinion, September 18), but he would be quite wrong to discourage their use as such.

The North Devon Sinfonia – the region’s only resident symphony orchestra – has performed to large and appreciative audiences at both St Peter’s, Barnstaple, and at St Michael’s, Great Torrington.

If you choose your repertoire wisely, the idiosyncratic acoustic of a church need not pose any problems.

Our performance of Barber’s Adagio for Strings worked brilliantly at St Peter’s, and where better in North Devon to perform Saint-Saens’ Organ Symphony than in St Michael’s with its magnificent ‘Father Willis’ organ?

Indeed, our next concert is once again at St Michael’s (Saturday, November 16) where the programme will include Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony (the ‘Eroica’) and Poulenc’s Organ Concerto.

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I’m not aware of any plans to build a concert hall at Anchorwood Bank, but you can be sure that if such a project were proposed the North Devon Sinfonia would be right behind it.

In the meantime, our local theatres and churches extend a warm welcome to performers and audiences alike.

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David Taylor

North Devon Sinfonia

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