Musical tribute for conductor’s birthday
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