Robert A Howard is an accomplished musician, and regularly in demand as a soloist (bassoon), orchestral player and accompanist (piano). He also plays violin, viola and percussion, and sings bass.
Dr Robert Howard has received a national award for his achievements with the Prescot Festival of Music & the Arts.
Rob founded the festival in 2005 and remains its artistic director over a decade later. Having begun as a weekend event, it now runs to 10 days every June and showcases an array of musical, artistic and cultural talent from the local community, the North West region and beyond.
In recognition of his pioneering work, BAFA, the British Arts Festival Association, has presented him with the Exceptional Service Award 2016. Announced at BAFA’s November 2016 conference in Hull, the certificate was officially presented to Rob in person during the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert on 8 December.
(On an a related note, that concert, which is organised annually by the Prescot Festival, attracted a record 420 people and raised over £1,100 for local charities. Local school, church and community choirs were joined by Brassworks Quintet for the lively family occasion.)
Picture: Revd John Taylor, Vicar of Prescot, presents Robert with his award
Dr Robert Howard will be playing Elgar’s Romance (for bassoon and orchestra) this Tuesday, 6 December, with the South Liverpool Orchestra. The Christmas concert also features the music of Dvorak, Wagner and Vaughan Williams, as well as festive carols. It takes place at Hope University Chapel, Hope Park, L16 9JD, at 8pm, and costs £4 on the door. A delicious buffet is included.
Today (Sunday 4 December) saw a successful performance of Robert’s carol A Babe Is Born, by Prescot Parish Church Choir. They sing it again this Thursday night (8 December) as part of the Mayor of Prescot’s Charity Christmas Concert, at 8pm at St Mary’s Church, Prescot. Tickets are £5 on the door, and children are free with an accompanying adult.
The choir sing it for the third and final time at the Festival of Lessons and Carols on Sunday 18 December at 6.30pm, again at St Mary’s.
Photo by Alan Humphreys
Summer 2016 was an eventful one for Robert Howard.
His 2015 orchestral work Cortege, dedicated to David Kernick, was rehearsed in a workshop session by the 70-strong Uppingham Summer School Orchestra in Rutland, East Midlands, last August. The run-through was ably led by professional conductor Wyn Davies, Director of Music at New Zealand Opera.
Also in August, Robert conducted the Phoenix Concert Orchestra on a tour of the Vendée department of France, in two concerts of light music and selections from films and musicals. The first concert was outdoors in the artisan village of Sallertaine, as part of the Nocturnes Festival (pictured), while the second was at the Le Dix theatre in Nantes. Rob was joined by fellow conductor Jill Hyde, and both performances were well attended and enthusiastically received.