Out of the Shadows

Monday, 9 May 2022

The Seven Works of Mercy: a new song cycle inspired by the medieval murals in Pickering church

Children at one of the Easter workshops for Joseph Howard's Seven Mercies
Children at one of the Easter workshops for Joseph Howard's Seven Works of Mercy

A new partnership between the Ryedale Festival and the Richard Shephard Music Foundation is involving school children and community groups in a new song cycle inspired by the murals of Pickering Church. The medieval murals depicting The Seven Works of Mercy are relatively unusual in that all seven survive. The Seven Works of Mercy are a less well-known counterpart to the Seven Deadly Sins: feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, visiting the sick and burying the dead. 

Composer Joseph Howard has written a new song cycle, for solo voice and piano, with contributions being made by around 40 children from local primary schools, an adult community-based choir, and the church’s bell ringing society. The words by Emma Howard explore what these seven acts might mean in a 21st century context and offer a hymn of praise to small, everyday acts of kindness and bravery.

The performers include children from three local primary schools, including St Joseph’s RC Primary in Pickering where composer Joseph Howard attended himself, along with mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge and pianist Christopher Glynn (artistic director of the Ryedale Festival).

Seven Mercies at Pickering Church (Photo Gerard Collett)
Seven Mercies at Pickering Church (Photo Gerard Collett)

The performance takes places on Saturday 21 May 2022 at the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Pickering. Full details from the Ryedale Festival website.


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