No-one knew what was coming next – and no-one cared. The HERD Finale in St George’s Square on Sunday evening was a marvellous musical mash-up.
Around 350 singers, musicians and performers put on a show in all corners of the square and the audience – young, old or canine – just went with the flow.
All HERD’s 23 baaa-rmy but brilliant singing sheep met up in the square and the musical event happened all around them.
Hundreds of people crammed into the square and loved every minute of the hour-long show.
Passengers emerging from the train station must have thought they’d stepped off the wrong platform into a weird world where rap met brass, bhangra blended with choral and gospel sent spirits soaring like only gospel can.
Thabo Mkwananzi led the chants from the top of some stepladders. He had the willing audience moo-ing and baa-ing.
Amber Wood, aged seven, answered his calls and posed some questions about what the future might hold. A sheep might become president of the United States, she speculated. Well, stranger things have happened. Mentioning no names.
Amber Wood with mum Ruby
Amber was a little star and was the warm-up for her vocalist mum, Ruby, originally from Paddock. Amber clambered up and down the stepladders several times and had the audience captivated.
Ruby was one proud mum and said it was Amber’s first ever public performance. “She was a bit nervous,” said Ruby. But it didn’t show.
There was freestyle rap where the audience was asked to suggest three words to include in the ‘on the hoof’ lyrics.
One wag shouted: “Photosynthesis.” Might have been a bit tricky that. Instead “love, illusion and sunshine” were deemed more appropriate.
Youngsters from three local primary schools – Newsome, Headlands and Whitechapel – performed and there was a fabulous finale featuring Huddersfield Choral Society, Huddersfield Community Gospel Choir, Shepley Singers, Boliyaan group and Skelmanthorpe and Hade Edge brass bands.
“The Future is in Our Hands” they sang.
Composer Orlando Gough (centre) with some of the performers. Pic by: GORDON PARKS
Afterwards the man behind the musical madness, composer Orlando Gough, said: “I am absolutely euphoric. To see all those people come together and making music together is just what I want the world to be and it made my heart leap.
“Huddersfield people came out in force but who knows what they thought? People were following the action in a lovely way, just wafting across the square.
“The audience had absolutely no idea what to expect. I love that we were constantly surprising people and giving them something they’ve never heard before.”
The sheep were rounded up and transported away on Sunday night but they will live long in the memory.
Orlando said: “The amount of photographs and videos taken of those sheep is astonishing. People absolutely love them.”
Asked what will happen to them now, Orlando said: “In my dreams they will go off to festivals like Glastonbury, Latitude and Wilderness and go all over the country.”
The reality, however, is yet to be decided. Some may go to schools or museums while others could be auctioned off to raise funds for charities or local organisations. Some might even be dismantled and the parts reused.
Whatever happens next, the sheep won’t be forgotten. Thanks to producers Artichoke and Kirklees Year of Music 2023 for an amazing event.
Scroll through our gallery of images below by: SEAN DOYLE