Pilgrim’s Progress

Published February 23, 2014 by Webmaster in All Yearly Reports

The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust has awarded a grant of £1500 towards the “Pilgrim’s Progress” project on 25/26 October, 2013. The chairman of the Trust is Michael Kennedy whose book on the music of VW is still unsurpassed.


This “Come Sing and Play” performance of Vaughan William’s operatic masterpiece is the final event in a week of exploring Bunyan’s great allegory. On 19 October a “Make a Play in a Day” will encourage young actors, dancers and film makers to look at the allegory through the eyes of the youth of today.

The project has been promoted by the Festival drawing in fellow members of TAPA, particularly Taunton Choral Society, Somerset Opera and Somerset County Orchestra. A special Vocal Score has been prepared by Festival Chairman, Brian Cresswell with illustrations from the young Indian illustrator, Sasha Tanvi Mani.

Brian has previously directed and conducted staged performance in Bicester, Oxfordshire in 1972 and presented two concert performances with Somerset Opera in March 1976 and again in November 1987.

In order to make a performance of the work feasible for presentation after such a short period of study some sections of the opera have been given over to actors.

The sole intention of the project is to bring the piece, which so graphically portrays the struggles and redemption of man through the eyes of Bunyan and Vaughan Williams, within performing touch of a mainly amateur group of performers.

Vaughan Williams was a great champion of both the Festival movement and amateur music making, and it seems appropriate for the Festival to celebrate its struggles over the last 100 years by grappling with this masterpiece.


Brian Cresswell (Festival, and conductor of the final performance)

Chris. Ball (Artistic Director of Somerset Opera)

Stephen Bell (Conductor of Taunton Choral Society)

David Hedges (Conductor of Somerset County Orchestra)