Shenstone Music Group brings student talent to community setting

Shenstone Library

Lynne and Bob Ingram, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Association members and founders of the Shenstone Music Group, share how student talent is being refined, and is much admired at intimate concerts at their local library.

Lynne and Bob said:

In the leafy lanes of Staffordshire sits small, modern Shenstone Library, offering facilities for the local community on behalf of the county council.

A few years ago, a threat of imminent closure hung over the library, but with considerable help from more than 90 volunteers, its future was saved. It is now a popular, well used, and much-loved community library, offering clubs and activities for children and adults alike. Within this hidden gem, which is also a registered charity, there is a coffee shop serving artisan coffees together with delicious homemade cakes.

Shenstone Music Group, in collaboration with Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, has been offering intimate evening concerts at the library for the village community since 2017. These events were unfortunately disrupted by Covid-19, but thankfully, over the last 18 months, the evening concerts have returned to become a regular feature of village life once more.

The concerts are held monthly during spring and autumn, and provide entertainment from local musicians, but mostly, the performers are booked through RBC with the support of Professional Engagements Manager Lynsey Hopkinson. Over the years, Lynsey’s support and commitment has been invaluable, and Shenstone Music Group is particularly grateful for all her help.

Over the years, the music group has built up an excellent reputation for providing a diverse range of musicians, and, although a relatively small charge is made, ticket sales are high.

Among some of the performances, Shenstone audiences have enjoyed folk music from Filkins Drift; telling tales, singing and playing a variety of instruments, The Mellos; an accomplished cello duet, Luna Duo featuring Oliver Kinsella on guitar and Emily Hicks on flute; a Baroque evening with harpsichord, recorders and violin; and the Deil and Clark Jazz Duo. There was also the incomparable Baritone Ollie Barker with Friends singing songs from musicals.

As we look back, we realise what a superb selection of student musicians have played for us. We now have a loyal, supportive audience base who keenly purchase their tickets as soon as they go on sale. The performance space within the library is small, with a maximum audience of 40 – 50 people, but it is acoustically much admired by visiting student performers.

There is even a ‘Green Room’ to relax, rehearse, get changed and to enjoy refreshments prior to the performance. It is a space much appreciated by all.

The Shenstone Music Group looks forward to the next 12 months with more talent performing at the venue from new and repeat student performers. The next two concerts are:

  • Friday 2 February – Juniper, an amazing folk band who are making yet another return visit.
  • Friday 8 March – Wiktor Wysocki – Romantic Revival Chamber Orchestra.

If you would like to come to a concert, telephone Shenstone Community Library on 01543 480915 or just drop into the library.

Lynne and Bob Ingram

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