For the next two weeks I will be helping my wife run and manage the 6th Annual Festival de Musique de la Vallée du Cougain in the South of France.
The Festival was really her brain child from the beginning and as Executive Director she has almost single handedly built it from a couple of evening recitals in one small village to this year’s festival with 6 concerts in six different villages and towns over an eight day period.
And through persuasion combined with infectious passion, she now has the six village mayors doing most of the work, gathering sponsors, housing musicians, and converting small Medieval stone churches into concert venues. My job is “chief gofer” (go for this, go for that), taxi, barbecue chef, and I do all this without trying to get in the way of her whirlwind activities.
This year her UK registered music charity, Young Virtuosi, is bringing a dozen young (aged 14-26) up-and-coming musicians from England, Holland, Germany, Japan, Israel and a few other places into the tiny village of Castelreng, just south of the famous Medieval cité of Carcassonne.
The festival starts at 9pm in the small village of La Digne d’Amont, just a few miles west of Limoux, on July 14th with music from Mozart, Poulenc, Beethoven and Mendelssohn. The 15th they will be playing in the village of Saint-Couat du Razès, then on the 16th in the Èglise de l’Assomption in the town of Limoux, next on the 17th in the village church of Ajac, and continuing on the 18th in the village church of La Digne d’Aval. With one evening off, the festival culminates on Sunday with a gala concert in the church of our host village, Castelreng. And there is no repeat music! Six different venues, six different concerts of trios, quartets, solos and sonatas.
If you have never been to the south of France or heard classical music played with passion in small stone, candlelit Medieval churches, then hop on a plan or train and come the festival. You will be delighted you did. And if you have been to France, then come again for this special musical feast. And there is a sparking wine party after every concert!
If you are curious, you can download the 2013 Festival pdf Programe here.
And if you can’t attend, but would like a professional recording of the festival, and also if you have the urge to help with a donation to sponsor these fine young musicians for this week, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also donate easily through the Young Virtuosi website.
So, I will be running hard, enjoying the music, and having my share of the famous sparking wine of Limoux.
Here’s another small taster of last year’s concert.
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress