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Yorkshire-born Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has worked with Huddersfield Choral Society to create two compositions as after it was “silenced”.
Sunday, 11th October 2020, 5:27 pm
The society said that it wanted to create something new that would remember departed friends – two members died from Covid-19 early into lockdown – but also “to provide hope for choral singers throughout the UK”.
Armitage, who is from Huddersfield, asked each member of the society to send him one word that summed up their experience of lockdown. From the list of words Armitage has created two sets of lyrics – We’ll Sing and The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash.
The society commissioned two acclaimed composers, Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Daniel Kidane – to set the lyrics to music.
Century Films will piece it all together to create two videos of each work, which will premiere on November 28 at 7.30pm.
Armitage said: “It’s been a great pleasure to write songs for my local world-famous choir.
“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 justbwant to put words in their mouths, I wanted to put air in their lungs and blood in their hearts.”
Gregory Batsleer, choral director at the society, said: “Huddersfield Choral Society is an amazing community and a huge part of the city’s cultural life.
“For the first time in its 184-year history it has been silenced.
“The pandemic has brought to light how fragile the music industry is and many have been found searching the soul of their existence. We were devastated to lose two of our members to COVID and wanted to create something that provides hope but also demonstrates the importance of embracing innovation.
“The lyrics Simon has written are so poignant, made even more so as the members are the root of the inspiration. Earlier this week we came together in small groups for the first time to start rehearsing.
“It is going to be an emotional process and I can’t wait to share these beautiful two new works with music by the brilliant Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Daniel Kidane.”