Holy Trinity Arts Festival was started in 1965 by the then Organist and Choirmaster of Holy Trinity Church, Southport, David Bowman, and the Rev’d. (now Canon) Roger Wikeley, the curate, with the blessing of the incumbent at the time, the Rev’d (later Bishop) John Waine. It featured recitals using the Church Choir, the organ and the newly formed Southport Bach Society.

Subsequently the Festival was extended to include the Southport National Organ Competition, a biennial event held in alternate years to the St. Alban’s Organ Competition. Winners of the Southport competition have included acclaimed recitalists such as Desmond Hunter and Jane Parker-Smith, and the finalists are to be found in many of Britain’s Cathedral organists’ posts.

The aim of the Festival was to celebrate the feast of the Holy Trinity. Trinity Sunday is the week after Whit Sunday each year using the resources with which the church has been blessed namely a fine building with a superb acoustic, an excellent organ, an all male church choir and an enthusiastic choral society producing high quality music under the same exacting musical director.

From 1970 when David Bowman left to go to Ampleforth College, to 2009 the musical direction was in the hands of David Williams. Since 2009 the Musical Director has been Ian Wells who previously served as Choral Conductor & Assistant Organist of Liverpool Cathedral for 27 years. Mr Wells is also Head of the Upper School at Tower College Rainhill. He holds fellowships from several musical institutions and performs recitals both at home and abroad.

With the active and enthusiastic support of four subsequent incumbents and shrewd and dedicated secretaries the Festival has gone from strength to strength.

Drama has also had its place as has film, clowning, magic, dance, cultural events and lectures on a wide variety of topics.

An annual event for more than 25 years has been a two-day exhibition of paintings by local artists, each one accompanied by a smaller exhibition of some other art form or craft, photography, embroidery, lace making, wood turning, violin making, mural painting, and pottery.

Workshops have included flower arranging, sugarcraft, card making, digital photography and pottery, and contacts with media personalities have brought the musicologist Antony Hopkins, the storyteller David Kossoff, Roy Plomley, the creator of Desert Island Discs, and a live broadcast of Radio 4’s ‘Any Questions?’.

In all these events we have hoped to open our doors not only to the congregation and parish of Holy Trinity but to lovers of the arts all over Southport and its surrounding district, and to some of the many holiday makers who visit our town, to share our facilities and give pleasure to our audiences, and praise God from whom all these blessings flow.

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