Music at Park House derived from some Sunday Evening recitals, which were given at St Stephen's Church, Cheltenham, 31 years ago, which were set up to enable competent young musicians to present themselves and their music to a live audience. It was also intended as a means whereby established artists could present a programme, possibly as a preliminary to a tour, or to a formal concert presentation. The recitals were then given after Evensong to take advantage of the warm building (certainly during the winter period) and were organised by George and Yoko Mathers, who on moving to Park House, transferred the recitals to their Music Room and rearranged the recitals on a Sunday afternoon at 3.00pm to meet the general wishes of the audience which by then had developed.
Because of the legal restrictions of running any public paid performance, it was decided to promote the recitals on a private invitation basis and over the intervening years a large circulation list has been built up.
George sadly passed away in October 2015, but the recitals continue and are now presented at roughly monthly intervals throughout the year. Friends are notified in advance, a full schedule is issued annually with a six month update. Attendances vary between 35 and our maximum capacity of 55.
Recitals are normally in two sessions of about 40 minutes with an interval at which tea and biscuits are offered free of charge. We try to be as informal as possible and encourage performers to talk to the audience about the works being presented.
The Music Room is carpeted and there is an intimacy which is very much appreciated by our friends and by many of the artists who have performed here.
The audience is Catholic in its taste and is quite discerning. Programmes tend to revolve around the standard repertoire, but there is always a keen interest in work by lesser known composers and those who perform here are urged to include in their programmes works outside the standard "classical repertoire".
The audience attend as friends of Yoko, no charge is made for attendance but friends are invited to contribute to a collection either for a charity nominated by the performer, or to meet the performer's expenses.
We aim to present a fully professional standard of performance to our audience. We are particularly concerned to provide practical "chamber" conditions to be enjoyed both by those exercising their skills and our friends who attend.