Lucy Luxmoore and Devonport Park

 

Made In Plymouth contributor James Bridgwater tells us about Lucy Luxmoore and her work in Devonport Park.

I was fortunate enough to meet Lucy Luxmoore after being told about Devonport Park Community Choir by a friend of mine who is a keen choir member and is looking to set up a folk music group in Devonport. After a service at Stoke Damerel Parish Church I was invited to visit the choir at a rehearsal being held in the park café on Monday evening.

After Devonport Park (Plymouth’s oldest park) was restored and the bandstand was ready to be used again in November 2011, it was decided an event should be held as an inauguration. Mr Fairfax Luxmoore (husband to Lucy) announced members were required to form a community choir. They were fortunate enough to receive about forty replies.

The initial event was as support for those at the Remembrance Sunday service, which went well and has now become one of their annual events. This was soon followed by Christmas carols which are performed at the bandstand for the enthusiastic members of Devonport community. Then, for those who are unable to attend such an event, there are events such as visiting local nursing homes, Saltram and Cotehele Christmas Festivals and the St. Aubyn Christmas Fair. This was followed by a song writing contest, which resulted in a song by Terence Higgins “In Devonport Park.”

As can be seen from the choir’s song book “Songs from the Bandstand” there is a wide range of pieces of choral music performed, including sea shanties, local poems set to music, folk tunes and classics such as Jerusalem. Being very keen on Devonport and its history, the choir performed “An old Devonport Poem” in Heritage week. This is a poem about a pub crawl along the Dockyard wall, which had over twenty drinking establishments at its peak. We have recently been working on more modern pieces such as “By the rivers of Babylon”, “Downtown” and “The Windmill of your Mind.” These may well be performed at a Devonport Park Summer fair which take place on the last Sunday of each month over summer. There are always local artists performing at the fair, be it choirs, jazz/blues bands or local music makers, while stalls raise money for local and national charities.

The choir has no auditions and for a small fee anyone can join us once a month after rehearsal in The Lounge pub. Our next goal is to be recorded by Skymind Studios so we have a physical product to sell, as well as offering our services as a choir. This would also allow the choir to make contact with organisations such as BBC Radio 3 and their program My Choir.

Lucy Luxmoore is a very capable music teacher, who has a wide range of students. She moved to Plymouth from London where she studied at the Royal Academy. Lucy also organises gardening in Devonport Park, which began when a grant was organised in about 2007 by the local council. Five million pounds was provided to restore the park and form the Friends of Devonport Park. There is always gardening to do, volunteers would be welcome to use their green fingers to help keep the park looking beautiful throughout the year.

You can find out more about the Friends of Devonport Park on their website and join Devonport Park Community Choir’s Facebook group.