During the Two Moors Festival’s main two-week event in October, a host of wonderful concerts are put on in churches across Dartmoor and Exmoor – truly brilliant venues with amazing acoustics that are always so welcoming to us and the musicians who come through their doors.
One of these is St George’s Church in Dunster, a building that has a very rich history indeed. It can be dated back to 1097, although lots of changes have been made to it in the centuries between then and now. A chapel was added in the 13th century and the height of the tower was raised to its present level in the 15th century, with north and south aisles also being constructed.
The town still has a very lively worshipping community these days and it is always a pleasure to bring our concerts down to Dunster. There’s a wonderful choir and children’s choir, bellringers are always welcome from all four corners of the UK, handmade cards can be bought at the Church Bookstall and the church has a very strong association with Petauke Parish in Zambia.
This involves letter writing, supporting each other through prayer, supporting education, care support for HIV and clean water, and the building of a new church – all extremely worthwhile causes.
Over the last ten years, we’ve held many lovely concerts in St George’s Church but we do, of course, have our favourites. The very first concert of all in 2011 with Julius Drake and the Yggdrasil Quartet (sadly no more) will always be remembered, as will Cedric Tiberghien’s piano recital last year, which saw the church completely packed out. It’s a great venue for piano recitals, actually, as the working area is just right for the piano and the acoustics are very, very good. It’s very beautiful and a good size, and warden Laurie Hambrook is delightful, always welcoming us and looking after us in the best way possible.
He actually left us a little message on our ‘about’ page the other day, saying: “St George’s Church, Dunster, has been a venue for 2MF concerts from the very beginning. It is an association that we in Dunster greatly appreciate and we look forward each year to hosting the next fine concert/recital given by talented musicians. Music has always been an integral part of church worship, from plainsong to anthems, canticles, psalmody and, of course, humnody. It is difficult to imagine a church without music, whether it be liturgical or secular and it always a pleasure to entertain the 2MF and other festival organisers who make our ancient stones thrill with the sound of beautiful music, giving pleasure to so many.”