Song workshop at Ansells Farm, July 2011: Wine, Women and Song

July 1-3 2011

The theme was the Joy of Life, and in this extended version of our normal Song Workshops we had more opportunity to explore this repertoire.

Actor Timothy West with Stephen Varcoe and Christina Lawrie after the marvellosly entertaining ' Wine, Women and Song' programme which began the weekend's music-making. Baby Mairi-Anna is Christina's latest and greatest production, and the weekend's youngest participant - 6 weeks old here
Some of the participants in this year's workshop at Ansells

Please email for details. Find out more about our Song Workshops.

Celebrating Grainger 2011

Stephen will be appearing in The Harmonious Songsmith, a part of the “Celebrating Grainger 2011” series from 17th-20th February 2011 at Kings Place, London.

50 years after his death, the virtuoso pianist and composer Percy Grainger (1882-1961) is emerging as one of the most revolutionary cultural figures of the 20th century. Come and discover the joy of his music and some of its background in more than 120 works – a spectacular four days you will not forget.
Penelope Thwaites, Artistic Director

Ansells Music Weekend with Stephen & Melinda Varcoe July 2nd – 4th 2010

“… your weekends really are the most perfect experiences”…

A quote from one of the letters we received after this, our second annual festival, voted even better than last year’s by participants and audiences. Once again the weather gods were soothed by the prospect of mellifluous music into behaving impeccably, and the sunshine and warmth enhanced our theme of Travel, Holidays and Adventures. Eight students of singing spent all day Saturday, and Sunday morning, in intensive masterclasses with Stephen and accompanist Susi Morrow; then in the evening everyone relaxed, and members of the public joined us to enjoy picnics in the summery garden before two wonderful concerts, given by distinguished guest musicians.

Friday night’s concert, a complete sell-out, was a wonderful treat. Renowned actress Prunella Scales joined Stephen in a programme entitled ‘Travelling Hopefully’, an anthology of words and music from exotic travellers’ tales to hilarious holiday experiences, with songs to match.

‘Travelling Hopefully’, with Prunella Scales, Stephen Varcoe and accompanist Christina Lawrie

On Saturday, brilliant young husband and wife duo Marcus Barcham-Stevens and Christina Lawrie took us (and their violin and piano) round Europe on a musical adventure, and Stephen joined Marcus as narrator for a performance of Alan Ridout’s delightful ‘Ferdinand the Bull’.

The final concert on Sunday afternoon saw our eight singing-workshop participants presenting a varied programme of songs to an enthusiastic audience, followed by tea and homemade cakes in the garden.

Singing workshop participants and musicians

It’s clear that we’ve started a new Alphamstone tradition, and we’re already planning for next year’s festival, when we hope to equal (or even exceed?) this year’s triumph – dates to be announced later!

Song Workshop at Ansells Farm, April 2010

We hosted the first Song Workshop of the year on Feb 13th entitled “Love in Adversity”, which was fully subscribed and greatly enjoyed.

The next one is on Apr 24th, exploring songs by composers with significant anniversaries this year – Mahler, Wolf and Barber among others. Contact Stephen ( to book a place. Find out more about our Song Workshops.

Then ADVANCE NOTICE, a date for the diary! Our Ansells Summer Music weekend this year runs from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon 2nd – 4th July. More details soon, but places for eight singers to work with Stephen towards presenting a short concert before an audience on the Sunday afternoon.