Stone Songs to open Salisbury International Arts Festival 2022

Friday 27 May 2022 at 7pm & 9pm.

Wiltshire Creative, in partnership with La Folia, presents STONE SONGS by Howard Moody. 

Over 800 years after the laying of the Cathedral’s foundation stone, STONE SONGS will reflect on the skill, vision and dedication that it took to build such a magnificent building, inspired by the ancient chants that have resonated from the stones since the 13th century. Underpinned by the power of the newly refurbished Cathedral organ, the voices of the Festival Chorus will explore the acoustic possibilities of the building and reflect on the incredible vision that created it.

STONE SONGS will involve a large chorus, five soloists, brass, percussion, violin, organ and a stone mason at work. This new work celebrates the metamorphosis of stones over geological time and the wonder that they inspire, once they have been crafted into the great cathedrals of the world.

Commissioned by La Folia in partnership with Wiltshire Creative, it was written for the 800th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone of Salisbury Cathedral. Its first performance was originally planned for May 2020 but is now happily rescheduled to open the Salisbury International Arts Festival in May 2022.

The Festival Chorus has long been a distinctive and central part of the Festival’s identity and Wiltshire Creative are delighted that this event will herald the start of two packed weeks of music, dance, circus, film, theatre, visual art, spoken word and much more. In pandemic times, the opportunity to have the community’s voices resounding off the resonant surfaces of the Cathedral’s stones will be especially powerful.

The lyrics of the final chorus will have a new and potent significance: “We like living stones will make it sound again”

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Howard Moody introduces Stone Songs in the clip below.



Handel’s MESSIAH

After 2 years in hibernation due to the Covid pandemic, on 20th November 2021, La Folia took part in our very first baroque outing, providing the orchestra for a performance of Handel’s MESSIAH on period instruments, in Priory School Chapel in Lewes, East Sussex.  With Howard Moody playing organ continuo, we performed alongside the Esterhazy Chamber Choir, conducted by Richard Dawson, and soloists Alexandra Kidgell, Rebecca Leggett, Ruairi Bowen and Malachy Frame.

It was a completely joyous performance for which the audience not only stood as is the custom during the Hallelujah chorus, but also gave us a standing ovation at the end.  Below are just some of the wonderful comments that were received from both musicians, soloists and audience:

“What an amazing evening!  Will live long in the memory! I still can’t get the smile off my face from last night!” (Richard Dawson, conductor)

“Honestly one of the warmest most wholesome concerts I can remember – just so much joy and fun in the room.  Could tell the audience had been starved of Messiah!” (Ruairi Bowen, tenor soloist)

“It was one of the best Messiah’s I’ve ever been involved with!” (Rebecca Leggett, alto soloist)

“I couldn’t believe what an amazing sound those instrumentalists made! And the choir sounded fab too!” (Audience member)

“It was an absolute joy to play in last night’s concert – and a privilege to lead Folia’s first baroque outing. I was so pleased with the way that the violin section worked together – a great little group and a nice mix of experience and youth.” (Alison Bury, leader)

I really felt the piece ‘ took off’ in the most exciting way and am still on a high from it… The orchestra felt so homogenised from the first note” (Julia Bishop, violin)

“I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed Saturday’s concert.  It was a truly special occasion and one I will remember for a long time.  Especially after the couple of years we have all had, it really meant a lot to be there with you all.” (Alexandra Kidgell, soprano soloist)

“I just wanted to say thank you for your very kind words. It was such a pleasure to play and be spurred on by the choir and orchestra and soloists fizzing along joyously! That’s how concerts should be!” (Neil Brough, trumpet)

Images from the rehearsal (photography John Astbury)

Esterhazy Chamber Choir and La Folia

Alison Bury_Dominika Fehér_Pablo Guttiérez

Howard Moody with Rebecca Leggett

Howard Moody, Catherine Rimer, Pablo Gutiérrez, Dominika Fehér, Alison Bury

Rebecca Bell and Alison Bury

Jan Zahourek and Alexandra Kidgell



La Folia welcomes new Production and Administration Manager

As La Folia prepares to emerge from a period of hibernation, we are delighted to welcome Cesca Eaton as our new Production and Administration Manager.

Cesca holds a rich and varied portfolio of work within the arts and charity sectors, incorporating film-making, concert management, and running Sussex-based charity Doctors for Nepal. Cesca has extensive experience making documentaries and series for television, including the International Emmy award-winning ‘Gareth Malone Goes to Glyndebourne’ (BBC2) and ‘Angelic Voices: the choristers of Salisbury Cathedral’ (BBC4). Cesca has a particular interest in classical music, having begun her career as a professional singer.

Cesca Eaton, newly-appointed Production and Administration Manager for La Folia, comments:

‘I am extremely pleased to be working with Howard and all at La Folia, and am looking forward to continuing the amazing work that Sue Kent has done over the years. Exciting times ahead.’

La Folia’s recent projects have included Howard Moody’s community opera PUSH, which was performed in St Thomas’s Church in 2018 and told the extraordinary story of a man who escaped from a train bound for Auschwitz. La Folia also produced two ground-breaking ‘Evening Songs‘ services in Salisbury Cathedral in 2019 and 2016, both of which featured original text and music written and sung by students from Exeter House Special School alongside Salisbury Cathedral choristers.

La Folia’s previous General Manager, Sue Kent, retired in July 2020, having run eighty-five projects since taking on the role in 2003. Upon her retirement, she was awarded Wiltshire Music Connect’s ‘Outstanding Contribution to Music Education Award 2020’ in recognition of her work with La Folia.

John Cox, Chair of Trustees for La Folia, comments:

‘Everyone on the Board is delighted to welcome Cesca in her new role as we look forward to La Folia’s exciting prospects once more.’

Thanks to the ongoing generosity of our supporters, La Folia will be relaunching project activity in earnest as soon as social distancing guidelines allow. Click here to receive project and performance updates via email.

Job vacancy at La Folia: Production & Administration Manager (Freelance)

As La Folia emerges from a period of hibernation, we are delighted to be opening applications for a freelance Production and Administration Manager to act as a central point of connection for all aspects of La Folia and its activities. Working closely with the Artistic Director, Board of Trustees, Finance Manager, project artists and freelance professionals, the successful candidate will be responsible for carrying out all the day-to-day administrative operations of the charity and co-ordinating all project activity.

Fee: £200-£250 per day, depending on experience.

Hours: 4 days per month for 1 year, subject to review after 6 months. Additional project-based hours may be available depending on the programme of activity.

Location: Home‐based, although attendance at meetings and events will be required. La Folia is currently based in Salisbury, but is open to applicants from a wider geographical area.

Please note, this is a freelance role.

Your skills and experience (a passion for communication through music and the arts is a given):

  • A successful manager with experience of working within a charity and/or arts organisation
  • Ability to develop and maintain strong working relationships with trustees, partners, supporters, sponsors, artists, freelance professionals and volunteers
  • Outstanding and persuasive written, oral and interpersonal skills
  • IT competent
  • Ability to work effectively with varying degrees of support – from working completely under own initiative to working collaboratively with a lot of input
  • Willingness to work flexibly and responsively
  • Ability to think laterally
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills
  • Energy, enthusiasm, imagination and drive

Please click here to download a full job description

To apply, please send your CV and covering letter to
In your letter, please explain how your skills and experience match the role description and person specification, why you would like to join us, and any other relevant details in support of your application.

Application deadline: Tuesday 25 May 2021, 5pm

First interviews: Tuesday 15 June 2021 (to be held on Zoom)

For further information about the role, please contact John Cox, Chair of Trustees:

December update

Although this has been a quiet year for us, as it has for many, we were so pleased to be able to complete our Continuing the Conversation project in the summer. The final performance was filmed in an empty church in Bristol in July and can be watched in full below:

We hope to be able to resume project delivery in 2021. In the meantime, we want to say a heartfelt thank you to all those who have supported us this year, particular during our period of hibernation. We are ready to make music again as soon as social distancing restrictions are eased. Watch this space…

July 2020 newsletter

Our July newsletter is available to download at the link below and contains a round-up of the 2019/20 season, including project updates and important news about the year ahead

Our office will be closed for a summer break over August 2020 but we look forward to being in touch with all of our supporters again in September.

Click here to read La Folia’s July 2020 newsletter


Stone Songs radio premiere

An excerpt from Howard Moody’s Stone Songs, commissioned by La Folia, was premiered on BBC Radio Wiltshire’s breakfast show on Sunday 31 May.

Click here to listen to the interview and the exclusive rehearsal recording (from 33 mins in)

Rehearsal recording mixed by Adrian Zolotuhin and featuring soloists Katy Crompton, Helen Charlston, Nick Pritchard, Sam Poppleton and Edward Grint with Howard Moody, composer on piano.

Stone Songs was due to be premiered at Salisbury Cathedral in May 2020, produced in association with Wiltshire Creative, underpinned by the power of the newly-refurbished Cathedral organ and featuring the 120 voices of Salisbury Festival Chorus. It is hoped that the piece will be presented once Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.

Click here to receive updates about the Stone Songs postponement

May 2020 newsletter

A virtual Epilogue from the opera PUSH, a video interview with Howard Moody and Sue Kent for the Wiltshire Creative Connects programme, and Major Andrew Johnston’s marathon: full details of the latest goings-on at La Folia can be found in our May 2020 newsletter.

PUSH virtual finale

‘My life is only miracles’, the finale of Howard Moody‘s opera PUSH, has been performed virtually by singers in Salisbury, Chichester, London and Brussels to mark the 77th anniversary of protagonist Simon Gronowski’s escape from a train bound for Auschwitz.