A thank you from David Fawcett

For circulation to the Festival Chorus

I wanted to write now, to wish you and Andrea all the best for your coming concert, which I hope is a great success, to update you on life in Dorset since the end of November, and to thank you all again for your kind send-off and very generous gift.

If anyone thinks I moved here to retire, then I need to correct you. The last 3 or 4 months have been incredibly busy, getting settled in our new home and starting to build the connections and activities which will make it feasible to thrive here in the long term. Recently, it has all started coming together and I begin to see a period ahead in which things follow a more predictable (if not less busy) path. So now is a good time to tell you what I’ve been up to and where it might take me.

I’ve found myself very welcome in the active music-making scene in the Isle of Purbeck. I tried to make myself useful when I first arrived, singing with groups that needed an extra tenor (most do, as you know) and offering myself as a deputy organist. People have been keen to make use of me, and early in the new year I was given the chance to take over as Director of Music at a small church, with a choir of about a dozen members. So I’ve got back into choral directing in a modest way (though I haven’t picked up a baton since November!).

More surprisingly at this stage, most people who are aware of my musical activities here know me as a composer, not a choral director or organist. When I started in the New Year meeting up and talking with those who lead the several choirs and singing groups down here, they were all interested in seeing my compositional output and exploring what they might use from their new “local composer”. The upshot is that I spent a hectic couple of weeks rescoring and editing at very short notice some small-choir anthems for larger chorus, so that The Purbeck Arts Choir (the local choral society) could perform three in their concert on 28 March. A local chamber choir is performing two others in May, and only yesterday I agreed to write something new for a rather fine choir of ladies.

With these opportunities, a rising profile generally and my decision to launch a comprehensive self-published range alongside my rather more sporadic published output, I now have several compositional projects that I can focus on over the next few months. That makes the gift which the Festival Chorus gave me – of funding for a series of lessons with Cecilia McDowell – all the more useful. I’ve held off starting these until I had a clearer idea of what I wanted to achieve this year, but I’ll now be asking Cecilia how we might work together on my various projects. So thank you all once again for your generosity, as well as for the party (and cake!), and of course for the wonderful performance of Verdi’s Requiem. There really couldn’t have been a better way to sign off than that, and I will never forget it or the happy years I spent with the Festival Chorus.

I hope I will get a chance to work with you, collectively or individually, again in the future. I plan to run workshops and possibly, in time, organise a choral festival for local and visiting choirs. And from time to time I may run events with my singing friends in London. So do please keep in touch. You can follow my progress, and Hatty and Lily’s, on our blog www.LifeBeyondLondon.com. Sign up for our regular updates! I’ll let you know when I launch the website marketing all my compositions, and of course you’ll be welcome to visit, browse, listen (and possibly buy) there too.

All best for the Handel! Do yourselves (and Andrea) proud!

All best regards

David (and Hatty and Lily)

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