In 1997 Egerton held its first Music Festival in order to raise funds for a new Village Hall. Hundreds of musicians and singers took part in a week of concerts and events that caught the imagination of audiences and performers alike. Six years later, with the Millennium Hall in place, Egerton Music Festival was established as a charity. Since then festivals have been held every three years, organised by a small group of enthusiasts living in the village.
The 2017 Festival will be the eighth since 1997. However, the story of the Egerton Music Festival would be incomplete without acknowledging our debt to those who have contributed over the years.
The Festival would not have got off the ground at all without the support of John Lumley, whose beautiful barn at Court Lodge was the main venue for the first two festivals.
Also in the early years, Clem Danin was tireless in his search for musicians, and the late Professor Yfrah Neaman sent us some wonderful young players from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The late Bryan Gipps (sen.) welcomed us into Egerton House and it is his son, Bryan, who is the Festival's Artistic Director. John Hall, Music Director of Norton Knatchbull School, Ashford, has always turned up trumps with his young jazz players, as have our home-grown folk musicians.
Visiting choirs have included the Shepway Singers, Cantores Dominicae, Collegium Regale, the Cranbrook Choral Society, the Sutton Valence Choral Society; and we have also welcomed the Kent Chamber Choir, under Alan Vincent, on a number of occasions.
Over the years the chamber concerts and recitals have given us a chance to hear some first class musicians. Highlights must include the Sacconi Quartet, Trio Berneray from Munich, the Baugé Trio from the Royal Opera Orchestra and Trio con Spirito. Soloists have included Gary Ryan, Ben Hancox, Camilla Pay, Elinor Gow, Jane Wisely, Robin Morrish and Paloma Kouider from Paris.
The opening night opera has become a permanent fixture in the programme and the repertoire of a range of travelling companies has attracted both dedicated opera lovers and those for whom opera is little known or understood.
Egerton Music Festival is a registered charity, number 1104268
The Aims and objectives of the Festival as defined in its constitution are:
(a) to promote, improve, develop and maintain public education in and appreciation of the art and science of music in all its aspects by the holding of music festivals and other musical events in the Parish of Egerton, Kent and by other such ways as the Charity through its Executive Committee shall determine from time to time;
(b) to utilise in the locality the proceeds of the music festival to promote the learning of music in all its forms by young musicians, or such other areas as the Executive Committee shall determine from time to time.