Welcome to our Festival blog

We are a small congregation who organised a highly successful 'William Byrd Festival' in May 2011 to celebrate the life and work of the village's Elizabethan composer, William Byrd (c.1540 - 1623). In 2012 we played host to the world-famous choir The Cardinall's Musick under their director Andrew Carwood.

This website contains everything you need to know about William Byrd and his links with Stondon Massey. The church is open for services, of course, and on the second Sunday afternoon in the month during the summer.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Festival to welcome Byrd musicologist and well known local singers

Stondon Massey Church will be reverberating to the words and music of its local Elizabethan composer next May. Members of the local congregation are organising a William Byrd Festival in support of the fabric of the village’s ancient church and surroundings.

Leading the list of artists on the evening of Saturday 7 May will be Richard Turbet, an expert in the life and work of William Byrd, and the Stondon Singers, a local Choir who since their formation in 1968 have specialised in the music of the renaissance composer and his contemporaries.

Mr Richard Turbet is a retired librarian from the University of Aberdeen where latterly he was Special Collections Cataloguer and subject specialist for Music. Richard is a leading authority on William Byrd, having written or edited over one hundred published works about the composer and related subjects. Richard has given talks at the Byrd Festival in Portland, Oregon, and edited its tenth anniversary commemorative book. He has contributed to the Grove and to Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and is currently compiling the third edition of his book, “William Byrd. A Guide to Research”. For fifteen years Richard Turbet was a cathedral layclerk.

The Stondon Singers need no introduction other than to mention that they are one of the leading small choirs in this part of the county and St Peter & St Paul’s Church is proud to host their annual ‘William Byrd Memorial Concert’ every July around the time of the composer’s death. Their conductor is Christopher Tinker.

“There is a growing sense of excitement”, said Andrew Smith, the Chairman of the Festival Committee. “Richard will be speaking at Stondon for the first time, and has chosen as his theme ‘William Byrd: His Essex Years’. The combination of Richard Turbet’s expertise and the Stondon Singers musical ability to illustrate the talk will create a unique event and will be one of the highlights of the Festival”.

‘William Byrd: His Essex Years’ will be presented at Stondon Church on the evening of Saturday 7 May 2011.

William Byrd Festival Service

We will having a Festival Service using the traditional Book of Common Prayer liturgy on Sunday 8 May 2011. The service will be on the Byrd theme, not that the recusant Catholic composer attended his parish church all that often, if at all. Morning Prayer will be at St Peter & St Paul Church at the usual service time of 9.00am.