Hundreds of voices will celebrate composer Ralph Vaughan Williams’ centenary gift to Huddersfield in June with a ‘thank you’ concert at Huddersfield Town Hall as part of Kirklees Year of Music.
Folk songs will be turned into hymns in From Pub to Pulpit to mark Vaughan Williams’ 150th birthday.
Local singers and musicians are invited to take part and in the second half the whole audience is encouraged to join in.
The concert features the Huddersfield Town Hall organ played by David Pipe; Holmfirth Choral Society conducted by Geoffrey Lockwood; acapella folk group Broomdasher; and instrumental trio Coracle.
The evening honours Vaughan Williams’ unique connections with Huddersfield. The most memorable Vaughan Williams Huddersfield link is the magnificent composition Dona Nobis Pacem written specially for Huddersfield Choral Society to perform on their 100th anniversary, in October 1936 – just a few days before Vaughan Williams’ own birthday.
Project director John Palmer said: “Vaughan Williams had an affection for this part of Yorkshire, so we wanted to bring a special version of our national From Pub to Pulpit tour to Huddersfield to celebrate with an evening to remember.
“That’s why we’re inviting members of all the choirs in the Huddersfield area to come and sing.”
The anniversary concert explores how Vaughan Williams – a well-known collector of folk songs – borrowed folk song tunes he collected from labourers around the country for the tunes of some of the best hymns in the 1906 English Hymnal he edited.
It’s part of nationwide tour of more than 20 cathedrals, churches, festivals and other significant venues.
In the second half of the concert the audience join in on a musical journey, starting with the acapella group singing the folk song, going through dance tune variations and climaxing with everyone raising the roof with full-blooded renditions of the hymns, including To Be a Pilgrim and I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say.
It’s at Huddersfield Town Hall on Thursday June 8 at 7.30pm and tickets are £10 from the Town Hall box office 01484 255755 or From Pub to Pulpit – a concert to celebrate Ralph Vaughan Williams (musicinkirklees.co.uk)
In another Huddersfield link, local singers made up the chorus for the premiere of Vaughan Williams Sea Symphony, which he conducted himself as the opening concert of the Leeds Music Festival on October 12 1910 – his 38th birthday.
Singers from Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Leeds made up the 348 voices in a symphony which was the first to use choral voices all the way through. The chorus didn’t come together until four days before the concert but the singers had rehearsed in Huddersfield throughout the Spring and Summer.