In 1990 a group of members of The Elgar Society, residing in central southern England, met to form what became known as the Southern Branch. Meetings are held at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, Havant, Hampshire. The building – formerly The Havant Arts Centre - has recently undergone refurbishment and facilities include a pleasant café that provides an ideal place to meet fellow members. For those members travelling from further afield light lunches are also available. Parking is provided on site and further parking is available a short distance away. A good road and rail network gives easy access to Havant.
Meetings comprising of both members and visitors are friendly non-intellectual events that provide an ideal environment for those wishing to explore the life and music of one of England's greatest composers. Visitors are made most welcome and are allowed free entry under the Society's charitable status. Today the majority of the membership is drawn from Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey but some members travel from as far away as Dorset and West Kent. The Southern Branch Committee is currently considering the feasibility of arranging occasional meetings at other venues. Watch this space for further details.
Southern Branch Meeting time and venue:
Except where otherwise indicated, meetings are held on Saturdays beginning at 2.00pm at the The Spring (previously known as the Havant Arts Centre), East Street, Havant, near Portsmouth, Hampshire.
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Saturday 5 January, 2pm
“Elgar and the organ.”
David May, a member of the Elgar Society’s Southern Branch, will talk about and play recordings of Elgar’s music for the organ.
Saturday 9 February, 2pm
“Elgar the Edwardian.”
Philip Petchey, Vice-Chairman of the London Branch of The Elgar Society, describes aspects of Edwardian life and attitudes that form the background to some of Elgar’s finest works, and considers how these may have affected his music.
Saturday 9 March, 2pm
“Elgar and the critical ear.”
Stuart Freed is well-known to members of the Southern Branch, having been its Chairman for many years. His talk will be an interesting musical mystery tour.
Saturday 13 April, 2pm
“Elgar and Carice.”
Martin Bird, editor of The Elgar Society Journal, is an Elgar enthusiast and social historian. Martin will be speaking about the correspondence between Sir Edward Elgar and his daughter Carice.
Saturday 11 May, 2pm
“Elgar, India and Empire.”
We are pleased to welcome back to the Southern Branch Andrew Neill, past Chairman of The Elgar Society and well-known writer. His informative talk will focus on Elgar, India and Empire.
Saturday 14 September, 2pm
“The Composer, the Admiral, his Wife and his Lover.”
Kevin Allen, a founder member of the Southern Branch, is a prolific writer of books on Elgar. This intriguing title promises a fascinating talk!
Saturday 12 October, 2pm
“Elgar and Joachim.”
We are delighted to welcome an American – Arthur Reynolds to speak to us this afternoon. His talk on Elgar and Joachim will be of particular interest, as the violin was also Elgar’s instrument.
Saturday 16 November, 2pm
AGM and “Schummann’s influence on Elgar.”
Dr. Christopher Kent is a long-standing member of The Elgar Society, with a keen interest in keyboard music of all sorts. His talk will describe Schumann’s influence on Elgar.