The Society’s Lunch was held as part of the Hereford Three Choirs Festival on Monday 7 August 2006 at Wyastone Leys, Herefordshire: a concert followed.
“This is a great day in the short history of The Arthur Bliss Society. To have a Lunch, and one so well attended, at a Three Choirs Festival, in honour of our esteemed composer, is a tremendous privilege.” – our Chairman’s opening words in the Lunch souvenir programme.
94 members and friends met together on a lovely summer day to enjoy an excellent lunch in the most convivial atmosphere of the Wyastone marquee, before crossing to the Concert Hall to hear Bliss’s Music for Strings and works by Finzi, Julian Phillips and Shostakovich, played by Orchestra of the Swan, conducted by David Curtis. It was the largest gathering of members so far, and from this grew the idea of having informal get-togethers as we do now in places where Bliss works are performed, for example at the Three Choirs Festivals and English Music Festivals.
During the lunch in his Welcome address Chairman Gerald Towell suggested that perhaps the occasion was made all the livelier by the Gewurztraminer kindly donated by Lady Bliss, adding that Lady Bliss had often told him that Sir Arthur liked a glass of this before a concert before allowing her to adjust his bow-tie. Gerald then introduced Andrew Burn, at that time Head of Education and Ensembles with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and a member of The Bliss Trust. His talk, illustrated with musical examples, was called “The Golden Decade: Bliss’s Music in the 1930s”. Terry Barfoot, who has featured Bliss several times in his highly popular Arts in Residence Courses, closed the proceedings.