Natasha Guttmann

'My Anglo-Russian Family'

Saturday 22nd April 2017, 7:30 PM, Huntington Village Hall

Natasha Guttmann, who, with her husband Werner, have had a home in Huntington for 45 years, will tell the remarkable story of her British great-grandparents arrival in Russia, in 1840. She will tell of their success, as they helped build the early structure of Russia, as engineers and insurance brokers.

She will tell us of their comfortable lives, and inter-marriage and integration into Russian life and culture. But their comfortable style ended with the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Her parents, like scores of others, were forced to flee from Russia with just the clothes they stood up in. She will tell the story of her parents’ struggles as they fled to England and how they had to adapt to a strange land with little money and little English. She will talk of being brought up in two cultures and the advantage of knowing two languages.

The illustrated talk will feature music anecdotes and humour, and the evening will be completed with wine and zakuski (canapés) being served.

This rare and remarkable talk, will likely remain in our memories for a very long time and should not be missed.

Lord Lisvane, KCB, DL

“Order Order!” Tales from the Palace of Varieties

Saturday, May 20, 2017, 7:30 PM, St. Thomas à Becket Church

Herefordshire’s cross-bench peer, Lord Lisvane, is the former Clerk of the House of Commons – its most senior official, who with his staff of 2,000, effectively ran the House and its workings from 2011 – 2014.

He began his career at the House when Edward Heath was Prime Minister, and retired during David Cameron’s Administration (with six other Prime Ministers in between!). He was knighted in 2012, received a peerage on retirement (only the third Clerk of the House to do so) and now sits as an independent Crossbencher in the House of Lords. In his last years at the House of Commons, he worked with the controversial Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

He also featured in the BBC documentary, ‘Inside the Commons’. Lord Lisvane will tell us bizarre and hilarious stories; of odd and surprising facts about Parliament; and explanations of the impenetrable mysteries of a Gothic fantasy palace on the banks of the Thames. Robert Lisvane is an expert but irreverent guide through Westminster's turbulent centuries. Kings and commoners, the great and the not-so-good, statesmen and headsmen are dealt with by withering insults, wit and laughter, and an extraordinary cast of characters, from Charles I to Churchill.

All will be revealed during the evening, which obviously, will be enormously interesting and entertaining and should not be missed.

The Mid-Summer Concert with International Harpist, Jemima Phillips

Saturday, June 17, 2017 7:00pm, St. Thomas à Becket Church

The Friends of St. Thomas à Becket are delighted to welcome Jemima Phillips as the centre-piece of their 2017 events. She is winner of numerous awards and accolades, with an impressive list of qualifications; Jemima is one of the outstanding harpists of her generation. An exciting, versatile and innovative performer equally at home on acoustic and electric harps she is in great demand because of her creativity, musicianship, unique style and friendly personality.

Jemima graduated from the Royal College of Music with a BMus(Hons), an MMus(RCM) and by the age of nineteen had gained Fellowships of Trinity College London and the Royal Schools of Music. She has performed extensively throughout the UK and has been featured on TV by BBC, GMTV, ITV and S4C Wales. Internationally she has played in Japan, France, Russia, Switzerland, Spain and the U.S.A.

Appointed official harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales in 2004, her three year tenure ensured several memorable highlights, including performing at his wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall, playing at the reception hosted by Her Majesty the Queen for the 2012 Olympic Bid, featuring in the first public concert recorded by Classic FM which was broadcast following the Queen's Speech on Christmas Day and premiering the Salvi 'Royal' harp at the Llangollen International Festival.

One of the few harpists able to offer full-size concert harp, full-size electric harp and small electric harp, her repertoire spans classical, contemporary, jazz, rock, pop, soul, metal, electro, ambient experimental, film, TV, shows and Bollywood. Her own eclectic taste in music has also enabled her to play, improvise, song write and experiment with a variety of musicians, bands and DJ’s.

Following this evening, which promises to suit all musical tastes as above, the evening will conclude with the usual garden party reception in the grounds of Huntington Court, (by kind permission of William and Fiona Shone), where guests can meet and enjoy Jemima’s company, as well as meeting many other friends from all over the area. There will, as usual, be free wine and canapés served.

The following reviews are from some previous performances: "You could have sold out Thurlston Long Gallery twice I reckon, and in addition to a fantastic performance I would like to thank you for your part in the the post-concert discussion - everything I wished it to be and enlightening for the audience." Toby Smith, Cheltenham International Festival

"Jemima Phillips, was a revelation. She was fun, entertaining and perfection." Dr David Mathias, Orpheus Male Voice Choir Concert

"It’s taken me most of the weekend to come down after Friday, but I just wanted to say thanks again for making the concert at Oaklands so special. It far exceeded all my expectations, and I so appreciate all the energy, enthusiasm and hard work you put into it. I’ve been quite overwhelmed by all the positive feedback I’ve had from those who attended, and I do hope you were delighted as I was with the way the audience responded on the night. We just loved you! Again, huge thanks and very best wishes!" Paul Manning, Concert Co-ordinator at Oaklands Park

"I just cannot thank you enough for your part in the concert last week. The reaction to the harp has been quite extraordinary. I think everybody who has written or called me has mentioned how much they loved your playing. I hope your ears are burning." Diana Cawdron, Home-Start Carol Concert, Guards Chapel

"Your harp playing was so beautiful, we couldn't stop clapping. Me and my family would like to see you playing again so please could you send me your concert programme." Monika Szedaer

You really are a fantastic and talented musician – I love to hear you play and think that you enabled the local people of Aylesbury the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate a style of music that they may not have heard before in a modern and approachable environment. Your talent shines through and your lovely personality makes it a true pleasure to work with you. Thank you for helping to make our St George / Shakespeare celebration a great success. I look forward to working with you again in the future!" Ruth Mayhew, Events and Communications Officer, Aylesbury Town Council

'Adventures in the Screen Trade' by Deborah Moggach

Saturday, September 16 2017, 7:00 St. Thomas a Becket Church (TBC)

The internationally acclaimed Deborah Moggach, author of ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and ‘Tulip Fever’ as well as 18 other books, will be telling the story of her life in relation to her success as an author. She has also adapted many of her novels as TV dramas and has also written acclaimed adaptations of other people’s work, including Nancy Mitford, ‘Love in a Cold Climate’, ’The Diary of Anne Frank’ and the film ‘Pride and Prejudice’, starring Keira Knightly, for which she was awarded a BAFTA nomination.

Now happily married and living in Presteigne, she will tell of the story of her Hollywood visits to Steven Speilberg , who originally bought ‘Tulip Fever’ and the bizarre experiences she witnessed there. The film was subsequently made by Harvey Weinstein and is due to be released in February, starring amongst others, Judi Dench.

The stories of life in Hollywood to the writings of her many novels, tackling family life, divorce, children and the confusions and disappointments of relationships, will fascinate listeners.

Deborah has had a rich and varied life and her talk will be full of amusing anecdotes and startling surprises, which one could only have believed would have happened in Hollywood and as her life as a famous author.