The sound of live music returned to Oswestry this week as Whittington Music Festival brought three chamber music concerts to a town church.

Fourteen musicians with international reputations came to Oswestry for a shorter-than-usual Festival, with a socially distanced audience.

It represented the musicians’ first experience of live applause for more than 14 months.

Festival artistic director Sophia Rahman said: "Most of the musicians had been working sporadically in the studio and online but before coming to Shropshire many of us had not performed for a live audience for 14 months.

"There is absolutely nothing like the thrill of playing the most delicious music for real people in a live acoustic.

"The experience was as moving for us as it clearly was for audience members. They responded with rapt attention during the performances and thunderous applause afterwards, occasionally preceded by one of those special silences that comes after a period of deep listening.

"To be involved in this unique happening was an absolute privilege and a total joy not only for the musicians but those audience members who have given feedback afterwards.

"We all realise how lucky we were with the dates to be able to go ahead keeping a socially-distanced but vital live element to the festival and we very much hope to be able to bring more of this musical magic to next year’s event."

A number of Covid safety measures were in place, including a shorter series of concerts, a socially-distanced audience, and the lack of a bar. There was no interval or printed programme.

Now organisers are beginning the process of planning for a full festival series.

"We are most grateful for help without which these concerts would not have been possible, including the loan of its grand piano by Oswestry School, a generous legacy from a supporter, and grant funding which the Arts Council allowed us to retain after cancelling last year’s festival," a spokesman for the event said.

"As we try to keep ticket prices within reach, we rely on the grants like this when we can get them as well as the generous support from the Friends of Whittington Music Festival and our sponsors and benefactors. The growing reputation of our Festival brings visitors from beyond our local area and we are hoping to bring more in the future.

"As funding for next year’s Festival is not assured, support from any local individual or business will assist the Festival to continue adding to the cultural life of the area and its reputation in the world of classical music. More information can be found on"