Reviews & Press

Posture and Breathing Workshop for the Forest Flute Choir

Date and time:                        11am Saturday 28th March 2015

Venue:                         Viney Hall Physiotherapy Ltd., The Old School, Viney Hill,                                    Lydney, Glos. GL15 4ND

Duration:                     The session will run for approximately 1 hour.

Attendees:                   Max 12 (10 is better for space and to allow more individual                                     attention)

We will cover:

posture in standing and sitting – how to get to the best posture, how to maintain it, hints and tips regarding performance, aids on chairs etc.

  • different types of breathing
  • exercises that may help strengthen postural muscles
  • It is important to understand that this is an introduction to concepts and individuals may require further help at another time.


Pip Deave has worked as a Chartered Physiotherapist for 32 years, and runs Viney Hall Physiotherapy Ltd in Viney Hill, near Lydney.  In 2002, Pip qualified as a Pilates Instructor, and for 12 years has added Pilates to her Physiotherapy, teaching Pilates to individuals and in classes. The practice now runs 19 classes a week, with five other instructors helping out. The Pilates method concentrates on posture, breathing and core stability, all of which are important for musicians to improve technique and avoid the aches and pains often associated with long periods of practice and performance.

For more information about Pip, Viney Hall Physiotherapy, or Pilates, please see our website

The Forest Flute Choir

would like to invite you to a fun afternoon’s flute playing at our Flute Workshop

for beginners, for returners to flute playing (and for those who are just plain rusty….!)

When?                          Sunday 19th April 2015

What time?                 2pm-5pm

Where?                         Parkend Memorial Hall, Parkend, Forest of Dean

What’s going to happen? The afternoon will be led by local teacher and performer, Fiona Crawley, who will be joined by members of The Forest Flute Choir. It is designed to motivate and encourage beginners of any age by learning through ensemble playing, meeting other flautists at the same level, getting tips from more experienced players and teachers, swapping ideas, Q & A, listening to and trying out some of our different sized flutes and finishing with a short, informal performance for friends and family at the end of the afternoon. Afternoon tea will be included in the cost but if you need anything special please bring it with you!

Who can attend? This afternoon is designed especially for all those up to about grade 3 level. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age of experience – but you must be able to read and play at least 5 notes (F,G,A,B (B flat) and C) and you will need to bring your own flute and a music stand if you have one.

The cost is just £5 for everyone, inclusive of afternoon tea.

For further information  or call 01594 563079.

Flute Day with

Zoe Booth

Sunday 28th April 2013

9:30am – 5.00pm

Parkend Memorial Hall, Parkend, Nr. Lydney, Glos, GL15 4JR

 A motivational day for all flautists led by experienced performer, teacher and composer, Zoe Booth. Lots of ensemble playing, with new repertoire, Q&A, tips and techniques and general flutey fun! Suitable for all standards and ages.

 Cost: £10/ £5 (conc) for Forest Flute Choir members

£20/ £10 (conc) for non-Forest Flute Choir members. Please book now by ringing 01594 563079, or visiting our website. Limited spaces!! Price includes all refreshments. Please inform us of any dietary requirements.

Spring 2012

has started very nicely for the flute choir – we have our own bass,alto and picc – at last we have something approaching the full sound that we need – and we play well together!

Recently we participated in a lovely concert at St Paul’s Church, Parkend – we were joined by The Forest of Dean Male Voice Choir under the superb leadership of Tracey Gwynne – and weren’t they great? Fantastic choice of uplifting,sentimental and moving songs which paved the way perfectly for our soloist of the evening, Laura Hosford. Laura bravely took the solo spot in both halves and gave us classical/romantic in the first half with her sprightly redition of Hasse’s Allegro in b minor, followed by the sensuous and expressive Drouet in C sharp minor. The combined flute choir then gave our debut performance of Minuetto Allegretto by Wolfie Mozart, by way of the wombling Mike Batt, followed by Pop goes the Weasel – with some audience paticipation (eventually!) and concluded the first half with Zoe Booth’s Breaktime Boogie – we played with a really tight ensemble here. it was a pleasure to conduct you!

During the second half Luara treated us to some jazz and bluesy folk, showing just what a verstaile performer she is now. The senior flute choir then performed the Harlem Rag – which was taut and exciting – well done guys – followed by the best rendition of JS Bach’s Air for the G string that we have EVER done – yippee!! We sounded great! The final programmed piece, Maple Leaf Rag was a shade under rehearsed, I feel, though we largely carried it off – and then our special sailors’ hornpipe with Matt on picc. All in all a rip-roaring success and over £630 raised for the Kenyan charity – great result everyone!


Autumn 2012 has been a busy time for us all –

We all played carols outside in the cold at Taurus Crafts in Lydney over 2 weekends in December – great atmosphere and really well attended by flautists and supporters alike – we also busked and managed to raise about £75…another good result!

Members of the senior choir entertained a select but enthusiastic gathering at The Green Hut in Yorkley – rather chilly but we were pleased to be part of the Yorkley centenary celebrations. Lovely pizzas at The Bailey afterwards – and great company too! We were joined by The Yorkley School Choir under the directorship of Deborah Gibbons.

Finally, a fabulous evening at Aylburton Village Hall with Take 6 and The Springfield Singers under the legendary leadership of Chris Andrews – the flute group played Tchaikovsky and tangos, Rudolph and lots of other seasonal offerings which all went down very well with the boisterous audience!! Then we had participation – The 12 days of Christmas and the flute choir excelled with their actions for the various days…later on we joined the ladies of the choir with one of their songs (despite not knowing the words – we just copied the actions again…). then party time and karaoke to Queen numbers etc…then taxi home – all in all a great evening out!!


*  22-10-2011 Drybrook Methodist Chapel  –  Concert in aid of the organ fund.

This just received from the Senior Church Steward at Drybrook Methodist Church

On behalf of the Drybrook Methodist Church, I would like to thank you most sincerely for your wonderful participation in the concert with The Dean Singers on Saturday. Everyone enjoyed the concert greatly and loved the flute pieces. Such talent was greatly appreciated. Please convey our  thanks to the members of your group and for giving their time to contribute to our cause. We look forward to seeing you and them again at Drybrook in the near future.’



Thanks so much everyone for turning out and playing so very well on Saturday night – an intimate but welcoming venue – and a VERY appreciative audience. We shared our concert with the Dean Singers under their very experienced conductor, Becky Morgan and the choir impressed with their energy and enthusiasm! Annie’s Song was a good opener as it’s so well known and I think we’ll do it again next year sometime. Outstanding playing from our quintet of flute playing youngsters – Beth, Saffy. Melissa, Emily and Freya – fantastic performing – really well done, we had loads of lovely comments afterwards, too. Super Pachelbel  which was very much enjoyed by the audience and nice, balanced duet playing from our rising stars Matt and Adele. Second half was also a great triumph – well done all the senior players! I don’t know exactly how much was raised by the church but it was a really enjoyable night. Thanks to all our supporters for comiong out too – we all really do appreciate the time and energy you give to us.

 *  30-09-2011 St Michael’s Church, Tintern –  Concert in aid of church funds.

The senior flute ensemble rehearsed hard all summer and finally gathered together for probably its most important concert to date. We were asked to help raise money for the restoration fund for the delightful medieaval church of St Michael’s in Tintern; a super evening and a stunning location on the banks of the Wye proved a great backdrop to what was a fairly exhausting evening but a highly successful concert. The flute ensemble provided ALL the music for both halves of the concert and we drew from familiar favourites such as The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba and the Purcell Rounds. Olivia and Adele performed a trio sonata by Corelli which sounded beautiful in the church – just the right setting for it. Laura played a movement from a Mozart violin sonata arranged for flute which was also a great success with wonderful poised and elegant playing. Adele and Matt both played solos – the two slower movements from JS Bach’s Sonata in e minor – again with marvellous clarity and grace. We travelled through Tchaikovsky and Bizet until we arrived at the Twentieth Century with Bob Dylan and Jazz Suites by Russell Stokes…an relatively small but very enthusiastic audience asked questions about the different sized flutes and took a great interest in the Flute Choir. We finished the performance with our traditional encore of Sailor’s Hornpipe. We don’t know how much money was raised by the Church but their donation to the Flute Choir was very welcome – thank you very much.

*  17-09-2011 Coleford Baptist Church  –  Concert in Aid of Citizens’ Advice Bureau

Members of the senior choir had a busy month in September! We played a single set at the CAB concert at Coleford – from memory some Gershwin and Russell Stokes Jazz Pieces – the first outing for this complete set and it went well (we believe!). We concluded with our ever green encore piece – Sailor’s Hornpipe! The concert raised approixmately £740 for CAB which was a brilliant effort not only from the flute group but also all the other performers (of which there were many!). Afterwards we received a very nice card – ‘Dear Fiona and The Forest Flute Choir, – We are writing to thank you for your performance at our Feast of Music event; we really enjoyed your performance and your selection of music. Best wishes Lynn Teague, manager, staff, volunteers and clients of the Forest of Dean CAB.’

*  20-08-2011  Wedding at Parkend Church.

Members of the senior choir rehearsed for and played some lovely new music at the wedding of the parents of one of our junior members; Saffy Summers. We played for the two hymns and provided 45 minutes of music prior to the wedding – Nadine, the bride looked stunning as she entered the Church to Bob Dylan’s Make You Feel My Love – previously recorded by the singer Adele and now newly arranged in 5 parts for flute enseble by Fiona. it sounded so good that we decided to keep it in the repertoire! During the signing of the register we played a new arrangement of John Denver’s Annie’s Song and we were thrilled to be joined by Nadine’s and Byron’s daughter, Saffy who is a stalwart of junior flute choir. Bride and groom left the Church to a tune that was new to many of us – Rhythm of Love by The Plain White Ts. All new rep that sounded great in the Church – and a nice donation for the flute choir! Thanks for asking us Nadine and Byron!

*  02-07-2011 Five Acres Theatre, Coleford.  ‘Made in the Forest’ Concert.

To open the evening with a bang (crash and wallop) Forest Percussion performed 5 pieces, Viva La Vida by Coldplay, Jai Ho by A H Rahman from the blockbuster Slumdog Millionaire, Mission Impossible by Lalo Shiffren, Peter Gunn by Mancini, before rounding off their excellent programme with Blue Rondo a la Turk by Brubek, all of which had been expertly rehearsed by Forest based percussion teacher Steve Barnett from Tredegar Band who has clearly been able to draw upon his vast experience to show the audience the many facets of percussion playing with his young group.


Up next was the newly crowned Forest of Dean Junior and Senior Young Musician 2011. Tuba player George Stratford, 14, accompanied by Mrs Hayley Marangon, treated the audience to an beautifully controlled performance of The Holy City by Stephen Adams and The Ploughboy by Edrich Siebert which no doubt was enjoyed by all. Senior Young Musician winner Sam Davis (trumpet) from Coleford showed everyone in the audience why he had won the title, with his demanding but well-executed programme of Slavishe Fantasie by Carl Hohne and Trumpeters Lullaby by Leroy Anderson ably accompanied throughout by Alastair Cameron, conductor of the Royal Forest of Dean Orchestra. The competition had taken place earlier in the day and both of the winners acquitted themselves superbly on the night after little R & R time in between the two events.


When the applause had finally died down we saw the combined primary schools choir from Yorkley Primary and Lydney C of E School, accompanied by Rosemary Griffiths and conducted by Deborah Gibbons, take to the stage to give us four charming animal themed songs in which the youngsters demonstrated a passion and exuberance for the subject matter much to the delight of the plentiful audience. The choir finished with an arrangement by the Forest of Dean Area Wind Band’s 18 year old bass-clarinettist Christopher Gibbons of Forester Dick Brice’s The Land Between Two Rivers.


Ending the first half was the vibrant and energetic young Forest of Dean Area Wind Band (FODAWB) conducted by Kristyann Symonds. It was obvious from the outset that the band was “up for it” and their young timpanist James De Witt (13) epitomised the energy and drive that they all gave to their performance from start to finish.  The band opened their programme in spectacular fashion with the exciting and dramatic Goddess of Fire by Steven Reineke which describes Pele, the Goddess of Hawaii’s foreboding volcanoes.  Powerful stuff indeed!

Alto Saxophone soloist Otis Williams coped effortlessly with the “band of demons” behind him in “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” which was narrated in inimitable fashion by hillbilly Matt Hurst who succeeded in leaving the usually loquacious compere David Hayward speechless!

FODAWB concluded their stint with the ever-popular Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest by Hans Zimmer and a mature and confident reading of Kevin Houben’s descriptive work Call of the Clans.


After a brief interval, we were back with the Forest little BIG Band with their debut programme of Everybody Needs Somebody from the Blues Brothers, I Loves You Porgy from Porgy and Bess by Gershwin, Unchain my Heart by Ray Charles, Black Coffee with smooth, haunting vocals from the talented Rhiannon Symonds (who also played trombone with both the Forest little BIG Band and Forest of Dean Area Wind Band), finishing with Soul Bossa Nova.

The performance from the Forest little BIG band was so tight and convincing  that it was hard to believe they only formed in March of this year and that they perform un-conducted and are instead led from the first trumpet seat!


After such an exhilarating start to the second half from the Forest little BIG Band, Lydbrook Training Band changed the mood with their traditional brass band programme of the Edrich Siebert’s march The Rovers’ Return, Delilah, Peter Graham’s simple and beautiful Hine e Hine, Forty Fathoms, with George Stratford back on his feet with fellow tuba player Ieuaf Griffiths, before finishing with I Will Follow Him arr. Van Kraeydonck from the film Sister Act.

Although Lydbrook Training Band were not a full complement by any means, MD Robert Morgan MBE had chosen a well-balanced  programme that highlighted the band’s strengths  – their two tuba soloists were clearly enjoying themselves in the old favourite Forty Fathoms and the band were at their best in the lively I Will Follow Him.


Forest Flute Choir were formed six years ago and meet twice a month under the direction of Forest flute teacher Fiona Crawley.  They gave us  a refined programme of five pieces; The Can-Can by Offenbach, The Blue Danube Waltz by J Strauss, I Got Rhythm by Gershwin, Walk Like This by Ian Clarke before finishing with a rousing Sailors’ Hornpipe.

It was a beautiful programme extremely well played throughout but of particular interest was the unique work Walk Like This by Ian Clarke, a modern, British composer, whose compositions have been performed in the BBC Young Musician of the Year finals and on the main stage at Glastonbury!


The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the Gala Concert Massed Band item; put together especially for the evening and undoubtedly worth waiting for. The Massed Band played King Across the Water by Bruce Fraser and was comprised of the Forest of Dean Area Wind Band, the Forest Flute Choir, Lydbrook Training Band, Forest Percussion Ensemble and all members of the Forest little Big Band, conducted by event organiser Kristyann Symonds.

The piece opened with an explosive uproar from the percussion team before they were joined by the brass team during “battle” then joined by the woodwind to move into a breath-taking “lament” to exploit the army of flutes beautiful sound with a classy solo from FODAWB’s clarinettist Matthew Brew. The final “dancing” section and the dramatic conclusion had the audience on their feet applauding before the end of the last note. Certainly an experience never to be forgotten!

The organisers state in the programme that “it is hoped that this will become an annual event” and based on this year’s performance it most definitely should!

*  A Message from Roger Abbott – Head of Woodwind at Gloucestershire Music: 

“I just wanted to congratulate you and the flute choir on a very interesting and enjoyable performance in the Made in the Forest concert last Saturday.  It was very good to see such a healthy number in your group with a wide age range showing that it really is a community group. I also liked the variety of your music which made the programme interesting for all those listening.   All your hard work over the years has led to a strong and vibrant ensemble. Well done!”

*  05-03-2011  Forest Church, Drybrook  –  Concert for the Yvonne Walkerdine Music Bursary.  Press release review.

The Forest Church in Drybrook played host and was packed for the very first winner’s concert for the newly created Yvonne Walkerdine Music Bursary. The large and enthusiastic audience enjoyed some rousing performances from The Drybrook and District Male Voice Choir under their deputy conductor, Sheila Woodward. These included ever-green classics such as Some Enchanted Evening and The Rhythm of Life. This stirring opener was followed by young flautist Matthew Mann who was the first recipient of the £400 bursary prize. Matt, from Ruardean, is currently working for his GCSE’s at Dene Magna and is hoping to go to John Kyrle to do A Levels and then onto music college with a view to making music his profession. Matthew, together with accompanist Sally Horton, gave a fine account of a difficult work, the Sonata in e minor by JS Bach. This lengthy piece required maturity and exceptional control and stamina, which Matthew supplied. Matt was followed by The Forest Flute Choir, under conductor, Fiona Crawley, who performed a selection of American pieces, starting with the theme tune from The Simpsons.

Following the interval, the senior flute choir returned with some music from Bizet’s Carmen and a set of 4 pieces inspired by dances from the 1930’s. The flute choir then played, as an encore, The Sailor’s Hornpipe which accelerated to a ferocious tempo, led throughout by Matt Mann on piccolo.

Matt then returned on flute to play Gossec’s famous Tambourin, Schumann’s Traumerei, which displayed a beautiful clarity of tone and some finely controlled slow playing and finished with a fiendish modern piece by composer Ian Clarke. There was rapturous applause and much bowing.

The Drybrook and District Choir concluded the evening with Dick Brice’s Forest anthem ,The Land Between Two Rivers. This first bursary winner’s concert was a resounding success with people of all ages contributing to what was a memorable evening of fine music making. Well done everyone.

*  27-02-2011 Birmingham Concervatoire  –  Workshop with the National Flute Orchestra.  Press release 28-02-2011. 

Members of the Forest Flute Choir were invited to the world famous Birmingham Conservatoire on Sunday 27th Feb to take part in a massed rehearsal and performance of a newly commissioned piece by composer Cecilia McDowall. Eight flautists from all over the Forest joined the massed ranks of flute players from all over the world and performed with the highly prestigious National Flute Orchestra in the Adrian Boult Hall. Taking part were Matt Mann, who played the challenging piccolo part as a solo player, 12 year old Olivia Franghiadi from Lydney who demonstrated her skills in a master class of extended techniques, Charlotte Wood on bass flute, Adele Franghiadi on alto flute, Fiona Crawley, Penny Fielding, Ali Phelps and Gill Ball. A great time was had by all members and exciting links were forged with other flute choirs from all over the country. ‘ It was a fantastic experience for us all, and an inspiring afternoon for the Forest youngsters.’ said Fiona Crawley, Conductor of the Forest Flute Choir.

*  08-05-2010  St Peters’ Church, Nwenham on Severn  –  Concert in support of the Yvonne Walkerdine Bursary.

Review written by Duncan Hatcher
The Springfield Singers, the George Community Singers from Newnham and the Forest Flute Choir came together last Saturday to deliver an unforgettable evening of exciting and exuberant music in the fine setting of St Peters’ Church.

The event was organised by Fiona Crawley of the Flute Choir as part of a summer series of musical events to raise funds for the newly formed Yvonne Walkerdine Music Bursary, which will support promising young musicians throughout the Forest.The Springfield Singers, under the sparkling direction of Chris Andrews, got the evening off to the best possible start with a beautiful interpretation of ‘Adiemus’, Karl Jenkins’ haunting and insistent modern English choral work, suffused with African rhythms and melodies. Later, they performed the great Hebrew folk song ‘Hava Nagila’ and the modern pop classics 10CC’s ‘The Things We Do for Love’ and Freddy Mercury’s ‘I Want to Break Free’. I wrote that they performed these songs because they don’t just stand on a platform and sing, they make their music part of a great theatrical experience.The George Community Singers, with musical director Adrian Williams-Brett, are not your typical blazered and uniformed choir. I think the word for them might be ‘informal’. They enjoy their own special repertoire of inspiring revivalist and African style music, and they carried off their programme of challenging and complex songs with distinction. I was tempted to join their practice sessions upstairs at the George Café and Arts Centre, Newnham on Wednesday evenings, 7.30-9.00pm, to which everyone is invited.The Forest Flute Choir, founded and directed by Fiona Crawley, is a wonderful idea which has been so successful in encouraging musicians and in bringing a wide range of music to the concert going public of the Forest. On Saturday we had some popular light classics arranged for the instrument, to complete a perfectly balanced musical evening. In keeping with the aims of the Bursary, the Flute Choir’s pieces included a couple of fine solos by promising young flautists Beth Handley and Elinor Lovering.The concert ended with the Three Choirs getting together for the great musical anthem from ‘Grease’, High School Drop Out , a spirited finale to a delightful evening, and the event raised £320 for the Yvonne Walkerdine Bursary Fund.

*  10-04-2010 Parkend Baptist Chapel – Concert in Support of the Yvonne Walkerdine Music Bursary.

A concert in support of the Yvonne Walkerdine Music Bursary was held at the Parkend Baptist Chapel on April 10th at which a range of classical and popular music was played by flautists and brassists.

During the first half of the evening the Forest Flute Ensemble which consists of members of the (larger) Forest Flute Choir, played Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Reed Flutes as well as his ever enjoyable Arabian Dance and the amusing Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The Londonderry Air, with soloist Charlotte Wood on great form, was followed by Air on a G String and then the rather less known Russell Stokes’s Ostinato Formulato with ostinato specialist Matthew Mann strutting his stuff.

The Bream Brass Quintet, led by the debonair Huw on bass, completed the first half with The Flintstones theme tune and then, in keeping with the surroundings, George Gershwin’s Someone to Watch Over Me.

The brass players started the second half with a slightly faster Londonderry Air and then a wetly wonderful version of the classic Singing in the Rain followed. The quintet rounded off their contribution with a reprise of The Flintstones played at a much speedier tempo by special popular request of the giggling flautists.

The rest of the evening was devoted to the Forest flute Ensemble’s theme from Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Bryan Kelly’s rather doleful Caribbean Suite, a lively 1920’s Charleston and then a music hall number Stella at the Old Bull’n’Bush. The flautists finished by providing a sensual and exciting tango.

The appreciative audience demanded an encore and the flute ensemble responded with an entirely appropriate Sailors’ Hornpipe with piccolos supplied by Laura Gerrish and Fiona Crawley. The audience then reeled their home in a nautical fashion.

The flute players were; Gill Ball, Charlotte Wood, Matthew Mann, Lucy Creed, Alison Blasdale, Laura Gerrish, Fiona Crawley, Adele Franghiadi and Olivia Frangipani (who is all of 10 years old!) and the ensemble was directed by Fiona Crawley.
The brass players were Tracey Screen, Henry Fidler, Huw Bamford, Mark Baldwin and Wayne Williams.

The concert raised £120 and the bursary fund subsequently received further generous donations of £70.