Wednesday 29 Oct 2014
Earlier this year the BBC Performing Arts Fund, in association with Making Music, awarded more than £200,000 to choirs and singing groups from around the UK through its Choral Ambition scheme.
Fourteen of the 98 choirs that received funding used their grant to commission brand new choral work. As a result, world premieres of new music have been taking place in churches, community halls and schools across the country, inspiring audiences and raising the profile of the choirs involved.
Young Scottish composer Lucinda Ross was approached to write two new pieces for the Helnsburgh Dorian Choir, the only Scottish choir to secure funding for a commission project. Music Of The Hill and Mountains I Love took inspiration from a book of poems and writings compiled by Mary Jane Selwood following the death of her son in a climbing accident. Poems by William Wordsworth and local schoolgirl Jennifer Hamill who was only eight when the book was published were selected for Lucinda to work to. The two works were performed for the first time in May alongside the Lomond School Junior Choir.
Patrick Trust, President of the choir, said: "[It was] a new and exciting challenge… It was great to see the enthusiasm of a young composer and the young lady who had written one of the poems was delighted with the whole event."
In Kendal the Amabile Girls' Choir worked with local composer Melody Rowe to help produce a four movement song cycle. Entitled Earth Tide, the work took inspiration from the four seasons as experienced in Cumbria. Rather than being separate from the compositional process, they used the opportunity to organise two full-day workshops where choristers actively participated in the development of the work. They intend for the pieces to become a regular part of their performance repertoire.
Artistic and Musical Director, Frances Chiasson, said: "This was valuable experience for the choristers, especially those who are composers themselves and those who may become composers in the future. The sense of accomplishment at the end of two successful premiere performances was substantial."
Voices Unlimited worked collaboratively with their local community in Oxfordshire including the choir from Charlbury Primary School, Charlbury Morris, and commissioned artists Kismet and Joe Butler to produce Soundtracks, a 70-minute performance of instrumental and choral music, dancing and poetry. This inventive new work reflects on the history of the North Cotswold Railway Line and the people who originally envisaged it as well as celebrating the trains as they are today.
Director and Co-Composer, Katherine Lucas, said: "There was drama, pathos, love and celebration. We had an extraordinary time. Many thanks for supporting us."
Miriam O'Keeffe, Project Manager of the Performing Arts Fund, said: "The Choral Ambition scheme has been a huge success. It's fantastic to see such a diverse range of commissions and the impact each project has had, not only on the choirs themselves, but on the wider community."
Other choirs that have completed commissions thank to the Choral Ambition scheme this year are:
Brockham Choral Society, Epsom
Phoenix Singers, Staffordshire
Wingrave Singers, Buckinghamshire
Côr Merched Canna, Wales
The Second Chance Choirs, London
Orlando Chamber Choir, London
London Bulgarian Choir, London
Voce Chamber Choir, London
Ipswich Choral Society, Ipswich
The BBC Performing Arts Fund helps aspiring music-makers and performers looking for a way to get ahead. Our mission is to seek out and support excellent aspiring performers and those directly supporting performing artists, who for reasons of lack of existing opportunity, personal background or circumstance, would not have been able to achieve their most ambitious goals, or their talent's greatest potential without the Fund's support or intervention.
The BBC Performing Arts Fund is a registered charity, number 1101276. The charity (formerly Fame Academy Bursary Trust) was set up in 2003 within the BBC.
The Fund receives revenue from the voting lines of BBC One entertainment programmes that seek to find new performing talent (including Fame Academy, How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do, I'd Do Anything and Over The Rainbow).
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