Canterbury Festival’s Beautiful Noise event filled the City’s halls and open spaces for the first time this year with a day of community music-making. Performers, audiences and volunteer stewards gathered in various locations to celebrate the very best in local music. With a total of 494 performers and an impressive 22 musical groups, there was something for everyone.
From the catchy tunes of Jazz Omnibus and soaring choral music in the brilliant acoustic of St Peter’s Methodist Church to the outdoor performances by large and smaller singing groups, throughout the day Canterbury was a festival of talent of every description.
One of the Canterbury Festival’s youngest performers, singer-songwriter Melina Hayeswood, enjoyed her first performance since lockdown, singing out of doors, and is definitely ready to do more. Another solo performer, Jas Jazz, was happy to celebrate his music with the community whilst crowds gathered to hear one of Canterbury’s larger choral groups, Kent Soul Choir, performing classic and modern soul music in the Westgate Hall.
Schools and colleges were particularly well represented. Fulston Manor from Sittingbourne and Canterbury Academy entertained audiences in the Westgate Hall with selections of contemporary and rock music. Simon Langton Girls’ Grammar School Senior Chamber Choir shared their high performance standards with an appreciative audience in St Peter’s; Kent College Choristers delivered a fine classical programme in the same venue.
Fine choral performances continued throughout the city. From the solemnity of Gregorian chant with the Canterbury Gregorian Music Society and moving close harmonies of the Snowdown Male Voice Choir to the wide range of styles and languages in the performances of Canterbury Girls’ Choir and Canterbury Ladies’ Choir, the music flowed through the day. The all-female Canterbury Voices closed the day in the Methodist Church with a repertoire of popular melodies.
Canterbury has a great range of outdoor performance spaces. Local ukulele group Ukelear Power combined performances in St Peter’s Church Hall with a set on the bandstand in Dane John Gardens. Dane John was also the venue to host crowds appreciative of the larger-than-life rock harmonies and sheer enjoyment delivered by the Canterbury Rock Choir. Longmarket Shopping Centre was brought to life by the bright sounds of the East Kent partnership choir, The Big Sing. Later, community choir The Lemon Zingers showed just how much fun their feel-good singing together can be whilst Canterbury Christ Church University’s Chamber Choir provided a mixture of choral unaccompanied music and excellent instrumental playing. In Whitefriars, Beech Grove Academy Brass and Folk Group showed enthusiasm and drew the crowds with their performances. They were followed by an informal presentation by Beat This Drumming! – a community percussion group from the rural Canterbury area which closed the day.
The Canterbury Festival thanks all the participants who provided such a memorable day of performances throughout the city, one which delighted audiences of all ages. The Beautiful Noise Community Celebration was generously supported by our Headline Sponsor, Paul Roberts Canterbury, as well as our Partner and principal sponsor Canterbury Christ Church University. We are also grateful for the support of Kent County Council, The Beerling Foundation and Canterbury Forest of Blean Rotary.