The Buzz

July 2021

A message from Peter

At the time of the Benslow Music Trust Annual General Meeting last year the prospect was of course rather gloomy. None of us really knew where things were heading.

Today things are, thank goodness, a little more certain. We are operating effectively again and open for business, still (at the time of writing) with restricted numbers yet expecting to be allowed something approaching capacity soon. Bookings certainly look buoyant in the next few months so do sign up for courses if you haven’t already. We will be retaining certain precautionary measures, perhaps for some time, in order to make things here as safe as possible for all our guests: see the updated FAQs on our website

It’s remarkable that Benslow Music has survived thus far. This is thanks to you, dear members, course participants and other well-wishers, to whom the whole organisation is deeply indebted and I am infinitely grateful personally. As you know, our fundraising campaign significantly exceeded original expectations thanks to your great generosity. All being well, we should be breaking even by Q4 this year and thereafter have a firm basis for continuation.

From my perspective nothing could have been achieved without the exceptional work of all my staff colleagues, whether in management, administrative and hospitality roles. All staff continue to work incredibly hard and when you visit you can be sure of a very warm welcome.

Hitchin Festival 2021
We are pleased to have been part of the Hitchin Festival again this year and have enjoyed 14 successful performances under the umbrella of the festival this July, from opera in the gardens to Busking for Benslow in Hitchin Market Square. 

New Appointments
All of us here really value Benslow Music our music making activities. However we must ensure the future sustainability of the organisation and continue to meet future challenges. Your continuing donations and our fundraising are vital to our continued operation as is pro-actively spreading word and finding new course participants. To this end, I am delighted to have appointed two new part-time members of staff: Emma Menniss as Head of Marketing and PR and Sacha Glasgow-Smith as Development and Fundraising Consultant (freelance). Both new roles are funded by specific (and generous) donation for this purpose. Emma and Sacha’s work will relieve pressure on existing staff, so enabling colleagues’ fuller focus on primary activities, and also we trust strengthen the wonderful personal relationships we have with our tutors, participants, visitors and others.

New Trustees
At the AGM members confirmed election of new trustees, Bhagwant Singh as Hon Treasurer, Andrew Blankfield, Katy Hamilton and Susan Sturrock, all of whom are already most valuable in helping us meet the continuing challenges.

Good wishes to everyone,

Peter Hewitt
Chief Executive
Benslow Music Instrument Loans Scheme
July has been a busy month as instrument appointments have been able to resume. We were delighted to hear good news from two BMILS alumni this month; violinist Sophie Phillips performed live for presenter Sean Rafferty and listeners on In Tune, BBC Radio 3 with her ensemble Trio Rouge; and Christ Church Cathedral School, Oxford, student Orlando Beasley, who loans a cello from the scheme passed his Trinity Music Exam Grade 8 with Distinction.

Watch a concert...

You can now book in-person and virtual tickets to our fantastic concert series!

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Book a course...

Whether your musical taste is for classical, jazz, popular, or folk, we have a day, residential or online music course for you!

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Benslow Music Open Day 25 July 2021

Benslow Music Open Day 2021

Our annual Open Day is coming up at the end of the month on Sunday 25th July. From 11am to 4pm we will be opening our doors to the local community and offering them the opportunity to sample all that Benslow Music has to offer. The myriad of activities on offer will include Open Gardens, African Drumming workshop, Young Musician Showcase, Afternoon Tea and Cake, Pimms on the Lawn, Benslow Honey, Face Painting, Arts and Crafts as well as tours of the house. Entrance is free, please come along and support us if you are in the local area.

2021 Residential Courses - Booking Dates

July to December 2021 Courses
Booking for Members and Non-Members is currently open

Find Out More

Exceptional times ...

Find out the latest changes to our COVID-secure venue and measures »

Music for sale ....

Browse our latest selection of music and books for sale.

Explore the shop »


From lunchtime talks, afternoon tea and workshops, we have something for you...

Find out more »

Music for Folk Ensemble
Jon Bennett and Jacqui Johnson, popular regular tutors at Benslow Music, and members of the folk band Moonrakers, have produced a first volume of tunes (including a Benslow Polka). The book is available to order as a physical copy or as a download.   You can also send a cheque for £15 to "Jon Bennett", 84 Sandfield Road, Oxford OX3 7RL or purchase from Benslow Music
Help us to spread word of our events by forwarding this email to friends and colleagues.  Thank you.
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