Tuesday 13 October 2020

Huddersfield Choral Society commissions two new works in memory of departed colleagues

Like choral groups the world over, the Huddersfield Choral Society was silenced by the pandemic and it lost members to COVID-19. To create something new out of the experience and to remember departed friends, the choir commissioned texts from Huddersfield-born Simon Armitage, the Poet Laureate, and commissioned composers Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Daniel Kidane to set the words.

Armitage had asked each member of the choir to send him a single word which summed up their experience of lockdown, and out of these he created two lyrics, We'll sing and The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash, and these have been set by Frances-Hoad and Kidane.

Simon Armitage commented: 'I wanted to try and catch some of the mood of lockdown in the lyrics, both the difficulties people have gone through and the great resilience they’ve shown. The pandemic has been devastating for the creative arts but especially hard on singers, with the world reduced to whispers and masked mumblings. I didn’t just want to put words in their mouths, I wanted to put air in their lungs and blood in their hearts!’

Last week members began to rehearse in groups of fifteen, in accordance with current government guidelines, led by the Society’s Choral Director, Gregory Batsleer. Century Films will piece it all together to create two videos of each work which will receive their world premiere on-line on 28 November at 7.30pm at the choir's website.

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