THE Welsh Marches is well known for many things, with the Presteigne Festival and Vintage Sports Car Club’s annual rally and hill climb among them, but not necessarily for its thriving early music scene.

That is all set to change later this month, however, with plans well in place for this year’s Early Music at Discoed weekend, which is being held over two days, Saturday and Sunday, October 28-29, and includes a workshop for singers and instrumentalists.

Well known baroque violinist Julia Bishop and local musician extraordinaire David Hatcher will lead participants through some of Handel’s most powerful music with a focus on his oratorio ‘Deborah’.


A timpanist (with their own instruments) and a second natural horn player are still to apply for a place, so the hunt is on, and there are still some places for singers and players who can read music well.

“This year we are delighted to welcome back baroque violinist Julia Bishop to our annual early music weekend,” said organisers on the website.

“She will join our musical director, David Hatcher, both as co-director for our Friday evening concert and as co-tutor for the two-day workshop.

“They are both inspiring and knowledgeable exponents of early music and both are much in demand as performers and as tutors.

“Picking up on where we left off in 2019, members of the Marches Baroque Orchestra, well known for their regular performances in Hereford Cathedral and playing on period instruments, will present a selection of Concerti Grossi by Handel and some of his contemporaries.

“This is a rare opportunity to hear this dramatic music played one-to-a-part, without a conductor and with the violinists taking it turns to play the concertante parts.”

This concert will be held in St Andrew’s Church, Presteigne, at 7.30pm on Friday, October 27.

The weekend workshops, on Saturday and Sunday from 9.30am-4.30pm, will be based at Upper House and the adjoining St Michael’s Church, in Discoed (LD8 2NW), and are for experienced singers and players with good sight-reading skills.

“Under David and Julia’s guidance we will work on a collection of some of Handel’s most thrilling choruses,” added organisers.

County Times:

“We hope to be joined by music students who will sing some arias and join the choir in the choruses.

“Instrumentation is oboes and bassoons, members of the violin family and plucked and keyboard continuo.

“This is a rare opportunity to hear the music by Handel and his contemporaries played as it might have been in its day, with the violinists taking it turns to play the concertante (solo) parts and, even more rarely, to hear a viola gamba concerto by Tartini performed by one of its finest exponents.”

Email if you would like to learn more about the weekend or visit the website.