The final event in this year’s season of Music in Quiet Places took place in the Great Hall at Eastnor Castle on June 7th, with the kind permission of James Hervey-Bathurst DL, the High Sheriff of Herefordshire. A wet and dismal day did not deter the audience, for whom, indeed, the sun shone, at least for their arrival, if not for their departure. But there was sunshine enough provided by Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford, whose talents could well have been deployed as a stage performer had he not chosen to be ordained.
With the aid of a Broadwood grand piano, provided by Mr. Hervey-Bathurst, the Dean entertained us with an autobiographical revue – a review of his life – interspersing songs with poetry and prose readings, anecdotes and amusing stories. Thus it was that we heard a Teddy Bear’s Picnic as well as “Misalliance”, written by Flanders and Swann, the sad love story of the right-handed honeysuckle and the left-handed bindweed. The tales of how the Dean as a young music teacher learnt never to turn his back on his class whilst playing the piano and how, as a newly-ordained clergyman, he broke a crystal sherry glass belonging to a grand lady parishioner who rather disdained his replacement which he was at pains to buy and deliver by pedal cycle in person the following day, were merely two examples of his amusing and entertaining performance.
This was followed by drinks and canapes in the lovely Octagon Salon with its wonderful view over the park. The organisers, who included the Red Cross, were fortunate in being able to combine music, laughter, wine and food in such a wonderful setting.
Many thanks must go not only to the Dean for giving up his time and expertise but also to Mr. Hervey-Bathurst and his team at Eastnor who cleared the Great Hall, set it up and then later restored it to its former splendour, and also provided people to help with the bar and food. As a result of the evening, it was possible to make a substantial donation towards the Eastnor Church Tower Appeal.