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CMAF Chair Glenis Ansell steps down

Last week at the Calne Music & Arts Festival AGM, the Chair Glenis Ansell stepped down from her role. Glenis has been Chair for thirteen years and whilst stepping back from her position as chair, Glenis will remain on the committee. Thanks go to Glenis for her fantastic service and we welcome John Boaler as the new Chair of Calne Music & Arts Festival.

Glenis addressed the AGM attendees with the following:

"It’s been another fabulous year as you will hear. We had several sell out concerts and continued to run the popular family day which everyone loves. We’re reaching a much wider audience nowadays and the festival continues to go from strength to strength. 

This is my last chairman’s report as I’ve decide the time has come to to stand down, I hadn’t realised just how long I’ve been involved with the festival. I moved to Calne in 1980s with a young family, in those days the festival took place in the summer and I attended a few events as time and baby sitters allowed. 

My musical involvement began when I  sang with Calne Choral Society, later  I was invited to perform a coda of sopranos songs accompanied by Jacquie Fox. 

As time went on I took part as a member of The Tea Set and later as their conductor and in 2000 Maggie Garrett and I sang the parts of the witches in Dido and Aeneas.

I played piano duets with David Bevan and performed as Marie Lloyd in our Old Time Music Hall.

But my involvement with the committee started when I was co-opted  as the Town Council representative in 2007. A few years later Tim Browne suggested that I became a full committee member and asked the Town Council to elected someone else as their representative. 

In 2009 I stepped up to be the committee secretary when Hugh Pilcher-Clayton was  chairman - and subsequently I stepped into the  Chairman’s chair in 2011 and apart from a short gap - here I’ve stayed ever since. So it’s high time I stepped back. 

During my time as chairman I’ve watched the festival  go from strength to strength through the hard work and dedication of the committee of who work so hard, year after year. To organise 10 days of art, music and food is a considerable achievement. 

I look forward to Festival week and the  opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues. I never cease to be amazed at the wealth of talent of local artists who display their works or by the musicians who perform for us. 

We have an event to suit every taste and can boast that we are the longest running festival in Wiltshire, apart from one gap - and that was down to Covid.

I have so many wonderful memories of performances over the years, the amazing young Japanese pianists who their thrilled us with their performance, big band concerts, male voice choirs,opera companies and our  local schools who provide such wonderful quality entertainment and all the other singers, choirs, bands and musical groups who give their time and talent.

Recently, due to the influx of new - and dare I say ‘younger‘ Committee members, our presence on Social media has been greatly improved and our fame is spreading. 

In spite of all that we offer - we still struggle to get journalistic coverage. After advising Wiltshire Life about the festival over a period of several years, in desperation  I contacted them and offered 2 free tickets to an event of their choosing plus directions about how to get to Calne - just in case they needed to know where we are! 

The following year we featured on the Front Page of Wiltshire Life which carried a comprehensive article about the festival. But we still struggle to get coverage from the Gazette and Herald. 

There are so many people involved in our history from David White right up to to today and all the people along the way who have gave  their time and talent.     

I must also pay a special tribute to Judith Weir the Master of the King’s Music - who was the ‘composer in residence' when the festival started in 1974. Judith agreed to become our Patron after attending the 40 year celebrations and has attended for one or two days during each festival week since then. We look forward to seeing Judith again later this year  when we celebrate our 50th year. 

Looking back, I can’t believe that I’ve been involved with Calne Music and Arts Festival for 30 years and I’d like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to make it such a success and I know that dedication will continue. 

So, for the coming year I look forward to being a committee member - provided I’m elected?"

Glenis being presented with flowers at the CMAF AGM January 2024.

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