Five out of the six ticketed concerts sold out this year.

Six outstanding churches along the Roman River valley in Essex – Copford, Peldon, East Mersea, Layer Marney, Abberton and Fingringhoe - will resonate with music played by leading national and international classical, jazz, folk and world musicians.

Copford Church, whose frescoes are an architectural treasure of international repute, is the setting for an intimate folk recital by 25-year-old Bella Hardy, whose mesmerising voice and heart-aching lyrics are already making a stir.

Our chamber concert features the young horn virtuoso Katie Pryce (who won the brass section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year aged 15), James Willshire and Daisy Jopling in Brahms’ majestic Horn Trio and Britten's beautiful setting of some of the most evocative English poetry - the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Piano, with the silvery voice of Christopher Lemmings, who also gives a recital of songs on Sunday morning in East Mersea.

Don't miss the amazing improvisations of David Gordon on Sunday morning, part of the song and cello recital in East Mersea.

The festival opens with the collaboration of two fizzing performers: a rap/funk violinist from New York and a choir specialising in soul music, and closes with the infectious rhythms and brilliant improvisations of the irrepressible Brass Volcanoes. James Willshire is the classical artist spotlight at our candlelit concert in Fingringhoe.

Our festival artist this year is the renowned water-colourist and etcher Charles Bartlett, who has generously given us use of this image for our festival publicity.

We will be offering £3 tickets to anyone under 30 years old. We continue the tradition of our popular social evening at the village hall and of a free concert at one of the churches. In the words of a festival-goer last year: “We are so lucky to be able to hear and watch first class musicians in our rural setting ... a wonderful feast.”


Wednesday 7 October, 7.30pm
Peldon Church, by candlelight

Jazz & soul classics inspired by nature


Daisy Jopling, violinist from Fingringhoe turned New York gospel reggae star, is used to playing to crowds thousands, but has never yet partnered a choir. And this is no ordinary choir – their fizzing performance and life-affirming energy is a perfect match for Daisy’s unique spirit, and we think the combination will produce fireworks.

St Mary's Church, Church Road, Peldon CO5 7PT MAP



Thursday 8 October, 7.30pm
Copford Church

A moonlit walk - songs of the forest
Voice, fiddle and guitar

Though only 25, Bella is already one of the shining lights of the folk scene, famed for entwining her hypnotic voice with her own fiddle accompaniment. The stunning 12th century wall paintings at Copford Church are one of our national treasures.
St Michael and all Angels Church, Copford Green, ESSEX CO6 1DG MAP Directions



Friday 9 October, 7.30pm
Layer Marney Church

Evgeny Chebykin horn
James Willshire piano
Christopher Lemmings tenor
Daisy Jopling violin

Britten Serenade for Tenor, Horn and piano
Brahms Trio for violin, horn and piano

"Sublimely gifted musician" Time Out Magazine
"Brilliantly entertaining" Evening Standard
"dazzling us with musicianship" Independent on Sunday

Two masterpieces inspired by the natural world: Brahms at his most lyrical, and Britten at his most melodic, setting beautiful poetry inspired by the English landscape.Christopher Lemmings is an outstanding musician with a silvery voice, who has taken leading roles in all of the major opera houses in the UK.

St Mary the Virgin, Layer Marney Tower, ESSEX CO5 9US

MAP Directions


Saturday 10 October, 11.30am
St Andrew’s Church, Abberton

Jennifer Morsches cello

Bach Suites in D minor and Eb major
Gabrielli Ricercare No 2 in A minor and No 5 in C major

This promises to be an intimate and mesmerising recital in the very special atmosphere of Abberton Church, overlooking the reservoir.
Rectory Lane, Abberton Essex CO5 7NJ MAP

Retiring collection. This recital is likely to sell out, so please arrive early so you can park easily and choose your seat.


Saturday 10 October, 7.30pm
St Andrew's Church, Fingringhoe

James Willshire piano


Programme to include
Ravel Miriors
Schubert Sonata in B flat D960

In this concert, we showcase an exciting new talent. James Willshire shone in a performance of Grieg’s piano concerto in London earlier this year. Here, he plays three pieces from different musical traditions, which all reflect the natural world.


St Andrew's Church, Fingringhoe CO5 7BG (MAP)



Sunday 11 October, 11.30am
East Mersea Church

Christopher Lemmings tenor (R)
Jennifer Morsches 'cello
David Gordon harpsichord

Songs by Purcell and his contemporaries

'dazzling' (Los Angeles Times)
'beauty of tone, power and theatrical response' (Gerontius, London 2008)

David Gordon will perform amazing feats of improvisation, and Jennifer Morsches will play some of the most beautiful Purcell cello pieces in this concert celebrating the 350th anniversary of the birth of this great English composer.

St Edmund's Church, East Mersea CO5 8TJ (MAP)



Sunday 11 October, 6pm
Fingringhoe Village Hall CO5 7BG (MAP)

The Brass Volcanoes

This year, our popular jazz supper event features New Orleans, blues, salsa, calypso, rumba, tango and more from an irrepressible band of virtuoso musicians. No two performances are the same, as ideas, solos and riffs are thrown between the players. Infectious rhythms and a mixture of well-known melodies and brilliant improvisations will make you want to get up and dance.

Caroline Bindloss Catering will again be providing a delicious two-course supper. Wine may be bought by the glass or bottle.

£20/18/13 (including supper)
Please note the earlier starting time of this event.

“fantastic band and did you see the bar staff standing on the bar to get a better view” Robert Coles – photographer – Bude Jazz Festival

"Never have there been so many people, young and old, dancing for sheer joy. It was a wonder to behold." Goring Gap Jazz Club

" ...have not enjoyed a gig so much in years, including all the big names I have seen at the Barbican and so on. Thank you very much!" Dragon Hall, London

Quire programme

Tonight’s programme will include from Octavia: Edwin Fawcett’s lovely Magnificat with close harmonies, perhaps reminding us of the Detroit Supremes (though Fawcett works in London).

My own contributions (as another English ‘Soul’ composer) include a version of the Ave Maria - Be Glad Mary (with hints of my misspent youth in jazz record clubs in the early 1960’s) and the more raunchy Soul Queen - a new look at the Salve Regina. This hammers away at the very same chords that excited Debussy 100 years ago and then inflamed Miles Davis and the band leaders of the 60’s to create the new BeBop Jazz that replaced the traditional jazz of the 30s and 40s. Discerning listeners will spot the ‘homage’ to my favourite bass players and pianists. But our special offering is a version of the classic You are the Living Word, from Fred Hammond’s Radical for Christ Album produced as recently as 2000; yet already it seems timeless - 14,000 hits on U tube and rising.

Towering Angels will offer from the Appalachians: O sing to me of Heaven, a piece that reminds us that for poor whites the agonies of this life were worth it for the joy of the next; and from the ‘Heavenly Gospel Quartet’ of Nashville: Go ye prodigal, which shows that, like the poor whites, the poor blacks too were anxious for the reward when they ‘go back home’. At some point we hope to feature Will Tamblyn in a couple of numbers made popular by the Rat Pack and more recently by Michael BublĂ©, Jamie Cullen and Diana Krall – Fly me to the Moon (Bart Howard’s wonderful theme song to the 1954 movie Once around) and van Heusen’s soaring Come fly with me of 1958.

We may join forces and give you Mary’s Canticle (another version of the Magnificat,) written in 1993 by the great Leon Roberts, classically trained African American Roman Catholic composer of Gospel and Soul so tragically taken from the world by cancer at the age of 36. And if there is time, People get Ready, written 1964, recorded Chicago 1965 by the Impressions, and another great, Curtis Mayfield, the creator of ‘funky soul’ who died in 1999 after a long illness following paralysis in 1990 after an accident on stage when a lighting rig fell on him during a performance.