The first Amersham Festival of Music was in April 1983 and ran for just over a week. Featuring an orchestral concert by the Thames Chamber Orchestra, Handel's magnificent oratorio Saul performed by the South Bucks Choral Society, a memorable harpsichord recital by Virginia Black at Chenies Manor House, a choral concert by the Chamber Choir of Dr Challoner's Grammar School, a recital of Lieder and English Song by soprano Alison Hargan, an evening with the Light Blues - a brilliant ensemble of former Oxbridge choral scholars and a Choral Evensong in St Mary's Church.
Our aim in starting the Festival was to promote music-making of the highest professional quality in the local area, using some of the very attractive local venues available to us. From the outset we were warmly supported by local music lovers, audiences were excellent in the first year, and we were fortunate to find a number of generous sponsors, without whose assistance such a festival would never have been possible.
Thirty years later our annual Festival spans a period of three or more weeks and we also promote an autumn-winter season of concerts by our own Festival Chamber Orchestra. These past twenty years have seen a substantial development in terms of the scope and size of our musical endeavours, happily coinciding with an increasing level of sponsorship from many local companies and individuals and the enthusiastic support of our local audience.
Perhaps the most exciting and bold development in recent years has been a series of performances of operas, either in concert performances or in staged or semi-staged productions.
Some of the highlights of past years are shown here.