20th Anniversary Celebration 2009
Type: Concert
Date: Saturday 4 April 2009


Directed by Sir David Willcocks CBE MC

Brahms German Requiem
Parry Blest Pair of Sirens

Soprano: Catherine Hamilton
Baritone: Darren Jeffery
Piano: Peter Adcock
Organ: Andrew Millington


The world’s pre-eminent conductor and teacher of choral music, Sir David Willcocks, gave a masterly display of conducting when he appeared at the opening event of the Shaldon Festival’s special 20th Anniversary celebrations. Born in Cornwall in 1919, Sir David continues to perform all over the world, with coming engagements in the USA and New Zealand.

He was invited to open this year’s special season of music by long-term personal friend Eileen Parkhouse, who founded the Shaldon Festival 20 years ago to celebrate the life and achievements of her husband David Parkhouse. Both Eileen and David were professors of music at the Royal College of Music. David was born in Teignmouth and, with Eileen, lived in Shaldon. He died exactly 20 years ago in April 1989.

Sir David Willcocks led a day-long workshop in the Brahms Requiem and Parry’s Blest Pair of Sirens for over 200 singers who had come to St Peter’s Church, Shaldon especially for the momentous opportunity of working with this most special musician. Sir David is nearly 90 years old but set a pace throughout the long day and evening that was more characteristic of a 40 year old. Taking complete charge of the proceedings from the outset as he faced the 200 strong choir assembled specially for the occasion, he immediately got down to work. Three long rehearsal sessions followed, characterized by a powerful musicianship that showed just how much he understood the works being sung and peppered by a string of lively anecdotes that kept everyone amused and focused on the task in hand. And if you weren’t looking at him when he was conducting, you were noticed and firmly reprimanded!

In the evening, the choir was joined by an audience of over 100 to hear the fruits of the day’s workshop and the result was truly thrilling. Hearing such a rich, full sound in the near perfect acoustic of St Peter’s was a special experience. Very effectively supported by soloists Catherine Hamilton (soprano) and Darren Jeffrey (baritone) and accompanied by the distinguished musicians Andrew Millington (organ) and Peter Adcock (piano) the programme provided an evening of rare pleasure.

This opening concert of the Shaldon Festival season was followed by a special supper for guests of Eileen Parkhouse and her family which was held in honour of Sir David Willcocks and in tribute to David Parkhouse.

Picture shows Eileen Parkhouse with Sir David Willcocks signing a copy of his autobiography

Parking Map for St Peter's Church, Shaldon


St Peter’s Church, Bridge Road, Shaldon, TQ14 0DB


1. Long Stay Public Carpark ½ mile from the church, reached through the village or off the A379 coast road to Torquay, postcode TQ14 0HP – 381 spaces, “pay & display” during the day but free after 6.00pm. Allow 15 minutes for the blue walking route shown.
2. Short Stay Public Carpark, opposite the church, postcode TQ14 0BP – 48 spaces, “pay & display” subject to a short stay 4 hour limit during the day but free after 6.00pm.
3. Extra parking – limited space adjoining the recreation ground reached from Ringmore Road but with easy pedestrian access to the Church along the estuary embankment. If using this area, please park “tidily” to maximise the usable space; this area is only available for parking as a special arrangement for the Festival.


Please telephone Malcolm Watson on 01626 873492 if you need help with letting someone alight at the church and/or need seating space for a wheelchair. In addition, there are a very few parking spaces close to the church which we can reserve for those with mobility difficulties on a first come, first served, basis.