Music at Knole

Stone Court and Great Hall concerts

an online contribution from Anthony Dawson

Knole Singers in the Great Hall at Christmas

In the 1990s the Sevenoaks Summer Festival would occasionally mount entertainments in the Stone Court. One year, I sat behind Lord and Lady Sackville in the audience, and he was dressed in a 1st World War trench coat to keep out the cold. In 1993 the Property Manager gave me permission to mount Benjamin Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in the Stone Court, with the Sackville Children’s Choir, an orchestra of musicians from Sevenoaks School and singers from 6 local primary/prep schools. The cast of 250 young people gave two performances in the Stone Court with the Great Hall being used as the green room for the performers. The orchestra was under the covered part, the stage was constructed under the wall on the right as you enter the Stone Court and the voice of God was projected from loud speakers on the roof. The 200 children in the chorus of animals processed into the Stone Court from the Great Hall, by a gangway in the centre of the audience up onto the stage. The performances were sponsored by Harrods and some of the costumes were incredible, made in Harrods’ workshops. The part of Noah was sung by professional baritone Richard Suart, Roger Woodward was stage director and I was musical director. As a result of these performances, I was invited to present Christmas concerts in the Great Hall with the Sackville Children’s Choir from 1993 – 2011 – and additionally, in later years, with the Knole Singers, from 2000 until 2015. These were some of the most memorable musical occasions in my career and a tremendous privilege.

This page was added by Anthony Dawson on 09/05/2017.

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