Mu­si­cal trib­ute for con­duc­tor’s birth­day

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News -

CON­DUC­TOR Mark Deller was sur­prised to be greeted by 50 singers and mu­si­cians when he walked into Wye Parish Church on Satur­day evening.

As well as Mr Deller’s sons, daugh­ter and grand­son, fiveyear-old Ben and other fam­ily mem­bers, the au­di­ence of 250 in­cluded friends and mem­bers of Ash­ford Choral So­ci­ety, who gath­ered to cel­e­brate his 70th birth­day.

They were en­ter­tained with two hours of mu­sic pre­sented by choir and or­ches­tra.

Alas­tair Hume, who met his wife Diane through an in­tro­duc­tion by Mr Deller, said: “You will see all th­ese peo­ple on stage and screen, but never again to­gether like this.

“This is a unique ex­pe­ri­ence for all of us. It is a trib­ute to Mark, who has touched all our lives.

He added: “Mark is a loyal per­son. Loy­alty breeds loy­alty. So that is why all of us are here tonight.”

Mr Deller, who has had an in­ter­na­tional ca­reer in mu­sic, started out by singing with St John’s Choir, Cam­bridge; St Paul’s Choir and the Deller Con­sort, which was founded by his fa­ther Al­fred.

He is one of the founder mem­bers of the Can­ter­bury Fes­ti­val, the mu­si­cal di­rec­tor of Stour Mu­sic and Ash­ford Choral So­ci­ety’s con­duc­tor.

The fa­mous names ap­pear­ing at Satur­day’s event in­cluded The Deller Con­sort, who sang five madri­gals.

Other pieces played and sung in­cluded The Ar­rival of the Queen of Sheba, As steals the Morn, per­formed by Lynne Daw­son and John Mark Ains­ley, and five un­ac­com­pa­nied an­thems, which de­lighted the au­di­ence.

Mr Deller was in­vited to con­duct the fi­nal item, The Hal­lelu­jah Cho­rus, in which ev­ery­body took part.

In thank­ing his friends and col­leagues Mr Deller con­fessed he could not find ad­e­quate words.

He said: “You have given me a won­der­ful and mem­o­rable day.”

The Rev John Richardson, the vicar of Wye, who had sent in­vi­ta­tions to the event’s pri­vately in­vited au­di­ence, re­vealed that work on bring­ing ev­ery­body to­gether for the oc­ca­sion had started three years ago.

Mark Deller en­joyed a birth­day sur­prise

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