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Wonderful 'Spring Fantasy' Concert

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Concert for the Syrian Family Project a Notable Success

Haddenham's plan to welcome a displaced Syrian family into the village received a major boost on Sunday evening, 3rd March, with a first class musical evening which filled St Mary's church.

The concert featured a remarkable group of professional musicians who live in Haddenham, supplemented in particular by an international star flautist with a personal mission to help the child casualties of civil war.

The musical programme was organized by violinist Karin Norlén, who recently moved to the village. With piano, two violins and cello we had a broad selection of classical pieces, including Mozart, Schubert and Mendelssohn. And then there was the magic of Wissam Boustany's flute.

Few will forget Boustany's highly physical rendering of Bartόk's Hungarian Peasant Suite, moving gradually from lyrical yearning to increasingly exuberant dance. His flute version of Bach's Erbarme Dich (from St Matthew Passion) was highly moving, as indeed was Boustany's own composition Broken Child: a lament with spare and steely piano beneath.

Excellent use was made of St Mary's organ, with colourful pieces from Duruflé and some majestic Elgar, played by Jonathan Cunliffe and Simon Over. It is good news that the village has a growing number of people who can play this fine instrument in its wonderful St Mary's setting.

The final piece was a little known musical gem by Duruflé for the unusual combination of piano, flute and viola, the soaring flute and the swelling contraltos of the viola providing a poignant farewell at the end of a most pleasant and memorable evening.

The Syrian Family Project is co-ordinated by Alison Watt, who reports that the concert raised £3,300 and lifts the funding so far within a whisker of £10,000. The target is £30,000 but it is still very early days.

Heartfelt thanks are due to the musicians who gave their services; also to the many Haddenham people who contributed in various ways to the event and to the generous interval hospitality, all co-ordinated by Kirsten Shaw and Tricia Stradling.

Wissam Boustany spoke with passion about the broken lives of children caught up in war and the spreading consequences for society in the widest sense. It is heart-warming that this village was able to bring such focus to bear on one element of the Syrian tragedy through this event. Anyone interested in more detail should contact hsfamilyproject@gmail.com

See lots more photos in the Galleries section of this website.

Andrew Gordon
4th March 2019