In March 2020, Huddersfield Choral Society was silenced - along with all music-making around the world - due to the coronavirus pandemic and just two weeks into lockdown two of its members tragically died from COVID-19. Huddersfield Choral Society wanted to create something new that would remember departed friends but also provide hope for choral singers throughout the UK. Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, a proud son of Huddersfield, asked each member of the Choral Society to send him one word which summed up their experience of lockdown. From this list of words Armitage has created two sets of lyrics – We’ll Sing and The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash. Huddersfield Choral Society commissioned two acclaimed composers – Cheryl Frances-Hoad and Daniel Kidane – to set the lyrics to music. Both composers spent time with Armitage to explore the best way of interpreting his words and the result is moving and beguiling.
Huddersfield Choral Society has commissioned Century Films to create two bespoke music videos of We’ll Sing and The Song Thrush and the Mountain Ash. Members have begun to rehearse again in groups of fifteen, in accordance with current government guidelines, led by the Society’s Choral Director, Gregory Batsleer. Century Films will piece it all together to create two videos of each work which will receive their world premiere on 28 November at 7.30pm.
Founded in 1836, Huddersfield Choral Society is one of the longest running choral societies in the UK with an international reputation, performing regularly for broadcasts on BBC Radio and Television, as well as a long history of pioneering recordings. It is a backbone of the community providing friendship, social interaction and improved physical and mental wellbeing though the act of communal singing.