A Short History of Bayle Music

 Bayle Music, now in its ninth season, grew out of the Music on a Sunday Afternoon series which in turn had developed from the 'Coffee, Cakes and Classics' series held on Saturday mornings at The Metropole.

 When The Metropole was no longer available, the concerts - and the splendid Yamaha Concert Grand Piano - transferred to St Mary & St Eanswythes church.  With agreement of the church, the concerts moved to Sunday afternoons.   Grenville Hancox, then Head of the Music Department at Canterbury Christ Church University, organised the concerts and booked the performers.  The costs of the concerts were underwritten by the University and the programmes, featuring established and emerging young musicians proved attractive.

  One such emerging group was the Sacconi Quartet which after performing twice asked if the church would be prepared to host an annual Music Festival over a weekend in May.  Fr David and Churchwardens agreed and the first Sacconi Chamber Music Festival was held in 2008.  The Festival goes from strength to strength and presents five concerts in three days filling the church each time.

 Sadly the University withdrew its financial support leaving the concerts uncertain.   However under the leadership of Grenville Hancox, sponsorship from local businesses  and the support of our 'regulars' becoming patrons or buying season tickets, the concerts continued under the name 'Bayle Music'. 

 2019-20 marks Bayle Music's 9th season and plans are well in hand for the 10th season beginning in September 2020. 

 And what about me?  Well, I have been associated with this church since I joined the choir in 1954. I attended St Eanswythe's Primary and the Harvey Grammar Schools and undertook my teacher training at Canterbury followed by 11 year's teaching in Hampshire. 

  I returned to Folkestone in 1978, when Canon Peter Cole was vicar, and have been a member of the church community in a variety of roles ever since.   Most recently I have explored the use of the church as a community asset.  We have hosted Folkestone Art Society exhibitions; Folkestone Book Festival events and Folkestone Triennial installations; visiting music groups and choirs as well as special civic and community services and events.  Each of these has attracted any number of visitors from the town and beyond and, we hope, encouraged people to come to our services. 

Ian Gordon

email: bayleman@gmail.com

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