Visit to Ashbourne by the Orchestra from Soisy Sur Seine, 14th to 16th May 2016

Music, Friendship & Ashbourne Sunshine

All the perfect ingredients were there over the weekend of the 14th and 15th May 2016 when 34 visitors from Soisy Sur Seine (Ashbourne’s Friendship town in France) came to Ashbourne with their Conservatoire Orchestra to perform at two free concerts in the town.


The Conservatoire de Musique is housed in the Château du Grand Veneur, in Soisy.  Under the guidance of Director, Véronique Guillo, the Conservatoire provides tuition for musicians of all ages on a wide range of musical instruments.

The weekend was hosted by the Ashbourne Singers, who have visited France on a couple of occasions to perform at their music festivals in Soisy Sur Seine and previously hosted the orchestra here in Ashbourne in 2012.

The concert on the Saturday evening was arranged by Steve Duckworth with Ashbourne Singers and the Ashbourne Town Band (Musical Director Richard Gilmour).  It was a varied programme that featured large works specifically scored by Steve to involve all the musicians together.  In preparation for the event, the four musical groups had worked on their individual parts and only came together to practice for the first time during the afternoon of the concert.  The effect was magical. The warmth of the union among the musicians from the various groups was clearly evident throughout the day and delivered to a captivated audience in the evening.

The Sunday afternoon concert was organised by Linda Perry Smith, which balanced the weighty works of the previous evening.  This was a more ‘chamber’ like concert featuring vocal items from individuals and groups, instrumental performances from local young musicians, and pieces by members of the orchestra and the orchestra as a whole.

Ashbourne Singers rounded of the weekend by arranging a Barn Dance for the visitors, no doubt adding to their confusion about British culture!

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Saturday Night Programme

The Orchestra Song Trad. Hungarian  Arr. Steven Duckworth

Te Deum Marc-Antoine CHARPENTIER, c.1695

Barcarolle des Contes d’Hoffman Jacques OFFENBACH c.1880

Les Acadiens Michel FUGAIN, 1975


Annie’s Song John DENVER, 1973

Dance To Your Daddy Trad. English Arr. Steven Duckworth

Reet Petite Berry GORDY, c.1957 Arr. Frank BERNAERTS

76 Trombones Meredith WILSON, 1957

Extracts from the Opera Carmen Georges BIZET, 1875

Kyrie From Mass in Bb Major (‘Little Organ Mass’) Joseph HAYDN, c.1775

Zadok the Priest George Frideric HANDEL

North Country Pastorale Ray STEADMAN-ALLEN, 1922

Boléro Maurice RAVEL, 1928

Pavane Gabriel FAURÉ, 1887

Pie Jesu From Requiem in D minor, Op.48 Gabriel FAURÉ, c.1888

Cantique de Jean Racine Gabriel FAURÉ, c.1865

Seoul Olympic Theme Giorgio MORODER, 1988

Castle On A Cloud Claude-Michel SCHÖNBERG, 1980

Do You Hear The People Sing

God Only Knows The Beach Boys, 1966