Yoxfest takes the community to its 'art

The summer is here, the time is right, for dancing the street.

Andrew Clarke

The summer is here, the time is right, for dancing the street. That's the idea behind Yoxfest, the personification of a community arts festival, which, as Arts Editor Andrew Clarke discovers, makes a grand entrance later this month.

Yoxfest is back this year - after taking a year off - and the programme, running just under a week, is still busy enough to make your head spin.

Running over the last four days of August, Yoxfest plays to its strengths mixing jazz with classical music, literature with arts and premieres with classic repertoire.


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It's a genuinely community event with enthusiast amateurs rubbing shoulders with international acclaimed professionals. The festival kicks off with The Jazz All Stars featuring the very best of British jazz musicians with Guy Barker, trumpet & Alan Barnes, saxes with Jim Watson keyboards, Phil Donkin, bass & Sebastiaan de Krom, drums. The All Stars are playing at Thurstons, Rendham.

On Saturday there is a literary lunch with two of the country's leading poets Oliver Bernard and Anne Beresford at Mains Restaurant while on Saturday evening at The President's Concert at St Peter's Church, Yoxford, the festival unveils its first world premiere - Elgar Howarth's Celebration of Dylan Thomas with readings by the composer with Anna Noakes on flute, Catherine Musker, viola and Gabriella Dall'Olio on harp. The event will also feature two UK premieres by contemporary composer Michael Nyman.

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On Sunday morning there will be the usual Yoxford Ramble which will include a knowledgeable, but not too serious, look at Yoxford history. On Sunday evening The Grand Tourists will be presenting an evening of Early Music with one of the world's most renowned performers Pamela Thorby recorders, with Elizabeth Kenny theorbo, guitar and Susanne Heinrich viola da gamba.

The programme will feature a fascinating mix of virtuoso Spanish, French, Italian and English baroque music for recorder, viol and lute from three leading exponents in the field of early music.

This will also be staged in St Peter's Church, Yoxford, starting at 7.30pm.

The festival ends on a high note on Monday August 31 with an explosion of music and sound. The day starts with an exclusive event for friends and patrons of the festival when soloist Penelope Roskell will be taking visitors around a private collection of historic piano fortes and will be demonstrating them using specific period music.

Penelope will be back facing a new audience at 5pm for a piano recital at Freedom Works, the Old High Road, Yoxford, which will include music by Schubert, Mozart, Ravel and Mompou.

Penelope Roskell has performed as soloist at major concert halls throughout Britain and she won first prize in the British Contemporary Piano Competition.

Then later that evening in St Peter's Church, the Yoxford Festival Chorus and the Festival Sinfonietta (Children's orchestra) will be performing a mixture of popular vocal and instrumental music.

The festival will end for this year in a blaze of colour and an infectious crescendo of Cuban rhythms as Freedom Works hosts an evening of cabaret called Cuban Lift, featuring dance music from the Andes.

The evening will feature Tony Hinnigan on guitar & charango; Catherine Musker, bass; Anna Noakes & Julie Murray flutes and pan pipes and Gary Kettel on Latin percussion.

The festival's artistic director is flautist and Yoxford resident Anna Noakes. Anna performs as a solo musician and with a number of leading orchestras. She has appeared as guest principal flute with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House,

She also used regularly for film and television soundtrack recording. She has worked on such high profile films as Harry Potter, Shrek, Da Vinci Code, Casino Royale and Love Actually.

Festival Booking Office is at The Griffin, High Street, Yoxford. Office open for callers noon to 2pm Saturday August 22 to Saturday August 29 or online at www.yoxfest.co.uk

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