STAFFORD Music Festival swings into action this weekend with new music and a farewell.
The first event takes place at 10am in Victoria Park when Stafford Concert Band play. Naked Sunday will also perform in the park at 3pm.
At 7.30pm Stafford and District Choral Society will say goodbye to their musical director of 29 years, Leslie Smith, with a concert at Rising Brook Baptist Church.
In his time he has led the choir at venues including Lichfield Cathedral, the Gatehouse and Stychfields Hall.
The list of music presented by the choir under his leadership ranges from the Renaissance music of Monteverdi to the present with a performance of the Military Wives Song last year, taking in huge masterpieces such as Elgar's The Dream of Gerontious and Verdi's Requiem along the way.
He also led the choir during its 50th and 60th anniversaries and the millennium concert at Lichfield Cathedral.The programme for this concert features Faure's Requiem, Jean Sibelius's Keralia Suite for Orchestra and Rutter's Magnificat.
The choir will be accompanied by a full orchestra, leader Nigel Stubbs together with soloists Stephanie Lamplough (soprano) and Benjamin Lewis (baritone). Tickets for the concert are £10, or £5 for full-time students, and are available from Rob Cooper-Maggs, on 01785 780578.
New music inspired by the historic Shugborough estate will be performed on Sunday.
In 2005 Stafford composer Andrew Baker spent time at Shugborough in the guise of an imaginary 1805 Joseph Mordant, composing music inspired by the house and its beautiful landscape.
Now he is back as himself with new music inspired by his project.
Along with a group of homegrown musicians he will be rehearsing and performing in the Mansion House 2pm-4pm as part of this year's Stafford Music Festival.
Anyone visiting the house can listen and meet the musicians - Anne Almond (mezzo-soprano), Alyson Lewin (recorder), Julie Stubbs (cello) and Sue Brereton-Banks (harpsichord).
Other festival events during the first of two weeks include Marston's Pedigree Jazz Band with a tribute to trad jazz at the White Eagle Polish Club, in Riverway; The Simon and Garfunkel Story at Stafford Gatehouse and the Staffordshire Young Singer of the Year competition.
The festival runs until May 24.