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John Locke concert - review by Rosemary Hodges
Thursday, 28th October, 2004
Although many of the large audience arrived expecting to brave the elements as the Memorial Stone was unveiled in all Saints' Churchyard, an audible sigh of relief went round as the Rector and Roy Clements said their pieces inside instead.
The musicians and other entertainers were of high quality. Paul Martin conducted the Wrington Vale Choral Society as they sang two items by Henry Purcell.
Dr Andrew Woodfield of Bristol University delivered a lucid account of Locke's valuable contribution to 17th century thinking, which was in many respects far ahead of his time. If you read the excellently presented material on display in church you couldn't fail to be impressed.
Heather Gibbard played a sonata by Henry Eccles on a baroque cello. She had found an amusing quote by Locke, who considered that much time was wasted by musicians in practice, and furthermore led them to keep odd company! Nothing new there, then.
Our Rector Nicholas Maddock, possessor of a fine baritone voice, sang three short songs with singularly poetic words. Tony Watts' daughter Amber, aged 13, had composed a piece specially for the occasion and our church organist Sue Clark had helped her to adapt it for the organ. Amber played with such confidence, and a very pleasant tune it was too.
Tony Watts and Dr. Paul Bou-Habib of Keele University had written an imaginative play, bringing Locke back from the past to answer philosophical questions by such luminaries as Ian from Belfast, Charles from Tetbury and George from the USA in a radio phone-in. It was conducted by Jeremy Paxo (Tony Watts) and an eerily look-alike Locke (Richard Thorn) with an amazing impressionist called Tony Coll doing the calling-in voices, aided by Rebecca Bryce.
And finally, a fitting grand finale from Wrington's own highly talented trumpeter, young Richard Whiting. He played Jeremiah Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary, as he has done many times before, this time accompanied by Sue Clark on the organ. A real tear jerker.
Did the benign presence of John Locke linger in the shadows? Certainly as I came out into the floodlit churchyard under a starry sky and full moon it seemed as if thought is as enduring as the universe.