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Sunday 12 May

Tea Concert: Flute and Harpsichord Recital

Rachel Beckett (flute and recorder) and Alastair Ross (harpsichord)

The last of this season's ever-popular CRAG tea concerts will feature a recital by the magnificent baroque flute and recorder player Rachel Beckett, accompanied by the harpsichord player Alastair Ross. The latter makes his third appearance at the CRAG tea concerts, the most recent being his mesmerising rendition of Bach's Goldberg Variations.

Rachel Beckett is principal flute and recorder with Sir John Eliot Gardiner's English Baroque Soloists, principal recorder with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and regular guest principal with other period orchestras such as the Academy of Ancient Music.

She is a frequent soloist on the legendary English Baroque Soloists Bach Cantata Pilgrimage recordings, made during Bach's anniversary year. More recent recordings include Monteverdi's opera Il Ritorno d'Ulisse, Bach's B Minor Mass, St Matthew Passion, and Cantata 151 Süßer Trost.

The programme will include:

Sonata in F major op 1 no 4 for recorder and continuo - Handel

Sonata in a minor for solo flute Wq 132 - CPE Bach

Sonata in C major op 1 no 3 for recorder and continuo - Handel

Sonata in b minor BWV for flute and obbligato harpsichord - JS Bach

'...[Rachel Beckett's] solo which she played almost senza vibrato, was purest joy. She played her melodies with the most wonderful intimacy and calmness.' Hamburger Abendblatt

In the Memorial Hall at 3pm, followed by free tea and cake. Doors open at 2.30. Seating will be strictly first come, first seated, so come early!

Tickets £12 (under 16s £5) on the door, or from Cotswold Frames or Larcum's, or book by emailing But remember, to guarantee a seat, arrive in good time. Seats are only reserved for season ticket holders.

This concert will raise money for the Asylum Welcome hardship fund. Asylum Welcome helps resettle refugees and asylum seekers in Oxford, and the hardship fund supports the increasing number of vulnerable asylum seekers in the city, many of whom are homeless and destitute. 

Here's a video by Help Refugees that we should all think about.

It's quite short. 

So is the time frame.

Latest news from CRAG
Based on the report we've just submitted for the next issue of the Charlbury Chronicle. We will have another newsletter shortly with news of the café and lunches we have for you during Artweeks.

CRAG’s brand new presentation on refugees for older school students was well received on its first showing in April to around 80 sixth formers at Wood Green school in Witney. It has been expertly put together by Fran and Hilary, who will take it round to as many local schools as possible to raise awareness of the issue among school students. Any teachers who are interested in our coming to their school should contact CRAG for details. 

The 80 or so people who attended CRAG’s talks on the criminalisation of humanitarian volunteers, either in Charlbury or in Chipping Norton, might be interested in a new IRR report on the subject, When witnesses won’t be silenced: citizens’ solidarity and criminalisation, which is free to download from its website,

Fundraising continues not just to bring in money but to enhance the Charlbury community too! The first four concerts of the 2018/19 season have raised over £4700, topped up to almost £8000 with income from other events, including the Bring and Buy (£882). The café we are running in St Mary’s during most of Artweeks should take that to well over £10k. Thank you to the many people who contribute so much time and effort to these occasions

Our latest donations are going to Refugee Community Kitchen, who provide daily hot meals for asylum seekers stranded at Calais and Dunkirk, and to Asylum Welcome in Oxford who help resettle refugees and asylum seekers. Their hardship fund supports the growing number of vulnerable young asylum seekers in the city, many of whom are homeless and destitute when they lose all support and accommodation on turning eighteen.

Our ‘Tea concerts' go from strength to strength, organised by Val. This season – our third season of concerts – they have not only been enjoyed by our capacity audiences – the artists love them too! These are world-class musicians who have performed with major orchestras and made numerous recordings. But they too feel passionate about raising funds for something close to their own hearts – and they all say how much they enjoy the reception that Charlbury gives them. It is win/win all round! So next season we will be blessed with having several artists returning. We really are very lucky.

Our exciting plans include another piano recital by Margaret Fingerhut which will form part of a national concert tour to raise money for refugees. We will also have another concert with the clarinettist Tony Pay who will be joined by friends to perform the complete ‘Quartet for the End of Time’ by Messiaen. Those who were present at his last concert will recall his haunting and evocative playing of one movement from this piece for solo clarinet. Finally, the pianist Maggie Cole will also be returning to give us another concert of music-making with her friends.

And on December 8 the Somerville Choir will be giving us a concert to celebrate advent. It is very exciting.

Last season we introduced season tickets for the complete series. These not only offer a reduction on the price of each concert; they also guarantee you a good seat! That's an ever more valuable asset, as some concerts have had standing room only. Look out for details later in the year.

If you can donate tents, sleeping bags etc, email Charlbury Refugee Action Group at

See you soon, and thanks so much for all you do.

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