The good from the bad: Finchcocks positives out the pandemic

Warren & Nemiah

As we near “freedom day” in England, and the lifting of all restrictions (we hope!), it seems the right time to reflect on how things have adapted during such a difficult 18 months. Yes, it’s been challenging for us all, but there have been some wonderful positives that have been born out of the obstacle course that has been Covid-19.

I thought it would be nice to share some of these with our Finchcocks community now and celebrate some Finchcocks developments!

Driven by Warren Mailley-Smith‘s inextinguishable passion for performing, livestream concerts became a regular feature with our “Live from Finchcocks” series. This has evolved over time, with Warren adding different camera angles, changing broadcasting platforms and reaching tens of thousands of audience members from the comfort of their own home. Many Finchcocks supporters have emailed me to say that it has been one of the highlights of their week, appreciating worldclass live music from their sofa, and really lifted their spirits. You can catch the tail end of Warren’s current series here with his Bells of Moscow next week.

The desire to bring back some in-person “covid-friendly” concerts brought about our wonderful outdoor stage. Built around the west elevation garden steps and looking out onto the terrace, course guests have enjoyed performances from their tutors and hosts Jenny & Helen as part of their stay. The public have also had the treat of experiencing the surreal multimedia insight into the mind, life and works of Erik Satie. Erik Satie, Mémoires d’un amnésique returns this summer in just a few weeks’ time.

Having christened the stage with private performances to piano course guests and one-off events to the public, it seemed a natural step to launch our first music festival this summer! The Finchcocks Festival runs from Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st July and we are very excited about three days of delicious live piano music in the private family gardens, weather permitting! We hope there is something for everyone – with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a children’s concert, repertoire from some piano composer “greats”, jazz on the lawn and the return of Erik Satie! We do hope to see many of our supporters there.

Did you have a job you’d been putting off which the boredom of a third lockdown finally encouraged you to get done? Well, our inherited music shop (from piano museum days) was completely and thoroughly sorted out, transforming into a comprehensive music library! You can read more about it here.

A breakfast tray in bed with orange juice, a pain aux raisins, granola, a teapot and cup of tea

Who doesn’t like breakfast in bed? Well, it’s here to stay at Finchcocks! With accommodation now in our grade 1 listed manor house, breakfast is brought right to your bedroom door as a special treat for guests. Pastries, Natalia’s delicious pancakes, homemade granola, toast, fresh fruit… all help set guests up just right for their first workshop of the day.

As the main contact for liaising with our Finchcocks community, guests and handling bookings, I have experienced such wonderful support from those connected to us – be it a friendly email, response to a newsletter, interaction on social media – or even a lovely card or gift in the post! It is truly special to be part of such a wonderful musical community, facilitated by the haven that is Finchcocks. This has only been confirmed even more during the last year as we realise what is important to us.

Warren & Nemiah

Finally and perhaps most importantly, re-opening and running our courses has made us very much realise how important and good for the soul moments like these are. Here’s to making many many more in the years to come!

Written by Jenny our Programme Director.

Al fresco dining