Lincoln: Cathedral Choristers
Tom starts his journey at Lincoln Cathedral, where William Byrd was organist in the 16th century. He talks to the person currently in Byrd’s shoes, Aric Prentice, and drops in on Evensong given by the cathedral’s girl choristers. And he catches up with older members of the choir in the Dog and Bone pub, where they meet to sing arrangements of music from Byrd to the Beach Boys. Listening with George Revill – a lecturer in Geography at the Open University and an expert in music’s relationship with the social and geographical landscape of the region – Tom discovers what music means for the musicians and local community.Find out more about music at Lincoln Cathedral
Edwinstowe: Thoresby Colliery Band
30 miles south-west of Lincoln, at the Miners Welfare hall in the village of Edwinstowe, in the heart of Nottinghamshire’s Sherwood Forest, Tom visits the championship Thoresby Colliery Band. During a break in rehearsal for their forthcoming Christmas concerts, the band’s members tell Tom how industrial decline in the region, and the challenge of attracting young musicians, has forced many brass bands to disband. But with players travelling from up to five hours away each week, and a local community proud of the band’s heritage, the Thoresby Colliery Band continues to thrive.Read more about the Thoresby Colliery Band
Nottingham: Hetain Patel
Hetain Patel©Matthew AndrewsDiscover more about Hetain Patel’s work
Tom meets visual artist and tabla player Hetain Patel at the New Arts Exchange gallery in central Nottingham. Patel – born in England to parents who emigrated from India a generation ago – started learning the tabla a few years ago, and uses rhythm in his work as a means of re-connecting with the ancient culture of his heritage. He tells Tom about the challenge of being caught between two cultures. Scroll down to see a video of Hetain's 2007 work Kanku Raga.
And Tom catches up with George Revill in his home town of Jacksdale, West Nottinghamshire: a place which in some ways is a shadow of its former self as a hub of the coal and steel industry, but also in which music has been used as a powerful tool for bringing people together.
Castleton: Village Carols
For one December night each year, The George Hotel in the Derbyshire Peaks village of Castleton hosts a centuries-old tradition of Christmas carol singing. It’s a tradition which Ralph Vaughan Williams discovered on a song-collecting trip to Castleton in 1908, and which is being kept alive today by a group of enthusiasts who travel from across Derbyshire, Yorkshire and Cheshire. Tom, accompanied again by George Revill, finds out what inspires them, and talks to young singer Bella Hardy, born in neighbouring Edale, about the importance of maintaining the tradition for future generations.Read more about the village carols tradition
Birmingham: Verdi’s Othello
Graham Vick with the chorus of Othello - photo by chorus member Pete Ashton (for more see www.flickr.com/photos/peteashton/sets)Read more about Birmingham Opera Company’s production of Othello
Tom’s musical discovery of the Midlands ends with Birmingham Opera Company’s production in English of Verdi’s Othello, taking place in the Argyle Works, a former factory in an area of Birmingham which symbolises both the city’s industrial past and rejuvenated present. The use of hundreds of local people for the chorus means that this production is deeply connected with its community; Tom finds out what difference this makes from artistic director Graham Vick, and members of the chorus tell stories of how music has changed their lives. Othello is also being filmed for future broadcast on BBC2
Tom visits a project run by Sinfonia Viva at the Drill Hall in Lincoln - a collaboration between the orchestra and children from local schools, including new works inspired by the music of Stravinsky, Varese and Weill
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