Choirs team up for war 100 anniversary event

Chapel Choir of Harrogate Ladies' College
Chapel Choir of Harrogate Ladies' College

Ripon Choral Society is preparing for a special concert to commemorate the end of World War One.

Teaming up for the first time with the Chapel Choir of Harrogate Ladies’ College and donating a proportion of ticket sales to the Royal British Legion Ripon Branch, the choir will perform Benjamin Britten’s monumental War Requiem.

The work requires two orchestras, 70 musicians and two choirs. It is the culmination of a series of five, war-themed autumn concerts that Ripon Choral Society began in 2014 to mark the centenary of World War One.

“The opportunity to hear a live performance of Britten’s War Requiem does not come around very often because of the sheer scale of its conception,” said conductor John Dunford.

“We are gathering the resources of three magnificent soloists, the Orchestra D’Amici, and the girls from Harrogate Ladies’ College in what promises to be a performance of beauty, passion, and raw emotion.”

In the run-up to the concert, three members of the choir completed a fundraising bike ride along the length of the Western Front from the Belgian coast to the Swiss border.

Andrew Hill (tenor), Colin Witham (tenor) and John Lawton (bass), plus their vehicular support team of Jane Drake (alto) and her husband Del, donated the ride’s proceeds partly to the choir and partly to the Royal British Legion.

The Ripon Branch is putting the money towards a newly-located Garden of Remembrance outside the cathedral.

But the legacy of the concert does not stop there.

Director of Music at Harrogate Ladies’ College Kate Morgan hopes it will have a lasting impact on the younger generation too.

“We are so excited to be collaborating with Ripon Choral Society in the performance of such an iconic masterpiece of 20th century choral music, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.

“To be involved with this challenging and moving work is a great opportunity and I hope the girls always remember this performance.”

The concert takes place on Saturday November 10 at 7.30pm in Ripon Cathedral.

The conductor will be John Dunford and soloists are Samantha Hay (soprano), James Oxley (tenor) and Matthew Brook (baritone).

They will be accompanied by Orchestra D’Amici.

Tickets are £22 reserved, £20 unreserved (student concessions available).

They are available from ticket hotline on 07736 759 930, from Ripon Cathedral Shop, on the door, or online at www.riponchoralsociety.org.uk.

A proportion of ticket sales will go to the Royal
British Legion Ripon Branch.