Second helpings at three-course feast

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THE Northumberland Music Festival will return by popular demand to three of the county’s finest country houses.

The second event of its kind, featuring a mix of opera, traditional, classical and Gilbert and Sullivan pieces, will take centre stage at Eshott Hall, Guyzance Hall and Doxford Hall in November.

A Gala Opera Concert will open the festival at Eshott on Friday, November 9, while the grand finale will be a Gilbert and Sullivan concert on Sunday, November 18 at Doxford.

This year’s event will follow the established pattern of 2011, which aimed to match the music to the venue and the menu, bringing the programme to different audiences.

It will see a return of some of last year’s favourites, together with new festival appearances from one of the UK’s leading Opera Houses, with full detail still to be announced, and the award-winning Reg Vardy Band, one of the world’s top 20 brass ensembles.

The band will play on Remembrance Sunday and will include music and hymns for the occasion.

Returning to the festival will be Murray McLachlan, international concert pianist and Musical Director at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

He will play and hold piano workshops, and Much Loved Productions will be back with uniquely entertaining performances of Gilbert and Sullivan favourites.

No Northumbrian Music Festival would be complete without featuring some of the traditional music for which the county is renowned. Representing this will be the Northumbrian Pipes and Fiddle, harpist and singer Janet Bennett and the talented young musicians of The Northumberland Ranters.

Robert Parker and his wife Gina, who own the three halls, were overcome by the response to the first festival.

Mr Parker said: “We were pleased by the reaction to the first festival and we are confident that this year’s will benefit from the ideas and suggestions that came after it.

“With some of last year’s highlights and several new concerts, it will be a fantastic programme.

“People came from all over the UK last year to be a part of the festival and we very much hope that they will return this year.”

Event organiser Barbara Huddart, of Glendale PR and Marketing, added: “We are very excited about this year’s programme and have secured some exceptional musicians for the concerts.

“As before, menus have been devised by the Head Chefs at each of the halls so that both music and food can combine in harmony.

“Last year, thanks to the tremendous support from local individuals, businesses, patrons and concert goers, the Northumberland Music Festival raised over £2,250 for charitable causes.

“Once again we are donating a percentage of all ticket sales to local charities so our aim is to provide enjoyment for an even wider audience, and to find partners in the local community, both in business and the charitable sector.”

Details about the concerts and how to book can be found on the festival’s website at www.nmfestival.com or by calling 01668 283100.

Alternatively, you can email info@nmfestival.com for further information.