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11 May : Performance "Bloom of Beauty" - music and poetry

Updated: May 3, 2020

by Grace Notes female a cappella group (director Daphne West) and Bee Harley (composer and pianist) at St Swithun's Church, Woodbury.

Daphne West's own photo of bluebells in Devon set the scene for a joyful Maytime evening

A programme featuring only flowers referenced in Keble Martin’s Concise British Flora was the task Daphne West set herself for this performance at St Swithun's, by Grace Notes female a cappella group and Bee Harley, pianist. Being married to a botanist, with their copy of the book a constant source of inspiration, Daphne certainly had a head start - though, unsurprisingly, she could find no songs featuring sneezewort, skullcap or broad leaved spurge ... a challenge for someone else, perhaps

Daphne and Bee created a brilliant and hugely enjoyable patchwork of song, piano music and poetry, beautifully and movingly evoking the countryside of Keble Martin’s time, complete with nightingales and cuckoos. Many of the pieces were arranged by Daphne herself, and she even tracked down for us music by a nineteenth century American composer called Isaac Woodbury. The song Bloom of Beauty referenced the meanings of flowers included in Victorian weddings, and one of the poems, Bluebells beneath Hound Tor, was a perfect reminder of Keble Martin’s long connection with and love of Dartmoor. Some of the music was specially composed for the concert by Bee Harley, and all the pieces were performed with grace and enthusiasm, with praise going especially to Hazel Linney, the soprano soloist. The programme will also be performed in other venues throughout Devon.

The concert raised over £140 to be split between Wild Woodbury and Plantlife (the wildflower charity).

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