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Molly Townson with her singing group Cantabile.

Molly Townson with her choir Cantabile.

Molly Townson tribute at White Rock Theatre this Sunday

Hastings International Music Festival is holding a musical evening in celebration of the life of former chairman Molly Townson at the White Rock Theatre on Sunday 27 October.

“Molly was an inspiration to several generations of singers and performers, and this is our chance to remember her, and her musical life, joyfully together,” says Hastings International Music Festival (HIMF) in a statement.

The gala evening – under the watchful eye of Petula Clarke, the festival’s president – will honour every aspect of Molly’s musical life, from her own singing to her subsequent career as a singing teacher, with special focus on her long association with the Hastings Musical Festival and the Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

It will feature previous festival winners who have gone on to successful careers as performers, including Molly’s daughters, singers Melanie Stace and Emma Stace, as well as performances from Miwako Miki and Frank Wibaut, prize winner and former artistic director respectively of Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition.

MollyTownson mugshotThere will also be contributions from the various performing groups with which Molly was associated, including Soiree, her touring Edwardian musical entertainment, and Cantabile, her choir, with choreography by Pauline Ash of Laton Ash Dance Centre.

The evening will also feature performances and appearances from famous friends in the wider world of music, including Shirley Collins, the Hastings-born Queen of English folk song (and former festival judge), and Ian Kearey (The Oyster Band and The Blue Aeroplanes); the celebrated composer, double bassist and former classmate Gavin Bryars (who wrote the last songs Molly sang in public); and composer Errollyn Wallen, ‘the renaissance woman of contemporary British music’ (The Observer) and former resident and festival competitor.

The celebration will be compèred by Molly’s son, Wesley Stace, aka John Wesley Harding, whose show Cabinet of Wonders is a longtime fixture in New York City and who recently released an album featuring duets with Bruce Springsteen and Lou Reed.

All proceeds will go to the Molly Townson Bursary Fund, for young people intending to pursue a career in the performing arts.


Molly Townson Memorial Concert Sunday 27 October, 7pm. White Rock Theatre, White Rock, Hastings TN34 1JX. Tickets – £12, £8 for over 60s and £6 for under 16s and students with ID (including booking fee) – are available from White Rock Theatre online or from the box office (01424 462 288).


Posted 13:04 Tuesday, Oct 22, 2019 In: Music & Sound

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