The next classical concert in the new Summer Series at The Gateway is coming up this Sunday, May 14th at 3pm. Series organiser Ruth Henley explains why she has brought professional musicians back to this riverside venue on Chester Street - making use of its fabulous Steinway piano!
Shrewsbury and District Arts Association has a long and distinguished history of promoting both music and art at The Gateway. Over the years, many individuals have stepped up to organise and promote events there. The most recent name on that list was Muriel Williamson who, as many of you will know, died of a stroke a few years ago. This coupled with the cultural disaster of the Covid Pandemic has led to a gap of over three years since there were regular concerts. I know that many people will have feared that the SADAA concerts were gone for good.
After giving it much thought, I felt that it was vital to bring music back to this venue, and in particular to make use of the splendid Steinway piano. I was also very concerned about the plight of freelance musicians, whose work opportunities were wiped out overnight and have still not recovered. I therefore agreed to take on the task of organising concerts, initially a short series of five concerts over the summer to assess demand.
Regular attenders of previous concerts will note that there are some significant changes from the old-style lunchtime concerts. The new Gateway concerts will be professional concerts given by a mix of local artists and musicians from further afield, all of them of high standing.
I have been asked how I managed to attract such people to come to play in Shrewsbury. The answer is simple – these are professional people who need to work just like any other professional person. If they are offered work at a reasonable fee, then they will take it! It also helps that I am a performer myself and I therefore know what performers need and make sure they are well looked after in that regard.
The first concert given by the Jarualda Quartet at the end of April was an encouraging start, with a reasonable and very enthusiastic audience. However, if the concerts are to be a successful and long-running feature in the musical life of Shrewsbury, we need to build on this and encourage a larger and regular following.
The next Summer Series at The Gateway concert is on Sunday 14th May at 3pm. The programme includes music by Schumann, Rossini and Brahms’ Clarinet Trio Op. 114. Tickets £12 from TicketSource or on the door and include tea & cake after the concert!Full details can be found at www.musicatthegateway.org