TEARS were shed and flags waved as hundreds of people enjoyed an evening of remembrance which saw Tamworth’s choirs coming together to perform under one magnificent roof in the first instalment of a new two-year arts project.
Organised by Tamworth Borough Council’s Arts and Events team, We Will Remember saw 200 choir members performing in St Editha’s Church alongside talented young singer Matilda Pratt and Staffordshire’s first ever Poet Laureate Mal Dewhirst.
As well as commemorating the centenary of the First World War, the concert also raised £1,000 towards the repair of the clock on St Editha’s Church tower. It featured the premier of a brand new piece of music called ‘War Child’, which was composed especially for the event by Sophy Smith and conducted by Dan Watson.
War Child was performed by Tamworth Voices, Tamworth Male Voice Choir, Tamworth Ladies Choir, Tamworth Arts Club and Flax Hill Junior School, who each also performed separate pieces throughout the concert, together with members of the William MacGregor Primary School Choir.
The musical line up featured a variety of songs from the past, including an excerpt from ‘Oh What a Lovely War’, Keep the Home Fires Burning, It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, Pack up Your Troubles and Over the Rainbow.
Tears were shed during the original piece of music, which tells the struggles of evacuees, and flags were waved during the encore of Do You Hear the People Sing? from Les Miserables, which was performed to rapturous applause and a standing ovation.
The concert has been hailed a resounding success, with great feedback from audience members and performers alike.
A video of the War Child performance posted on the Tamworth Arts and Events Facebook page has been viewed thousands of times. The video can be watched here: https://www.facebook.com/TArtsandEvents/.
Vicki Walker said: “Brilliant. Gave me goosebumps.” Rebecca Owen said: “Beautiful! My daughter took part in this lovely performance. Well done everyone who took part and made this happen.”
Charlotte Walters added: “I’m incredibly proud of the children from Flax Hill; so different from anything they have ever sung before and they really did themselves and our school proud.
Their opinions were echoed by Norman Prior who said: “Enjoyed the event. Great job.” Penny Skipp added: “A lovely thing to watch on Remembrance Sunday.”
We Will Remember is the first instalment in the new Arts in Unusual Spaces programme, which has been made possible by a £68,000 grant from Arts Council England, and will see art in all its forms popping up in unusual spaces across the town.
As well as creating new audiences, the project aims to provide Tamworth’s performers with opportunities to take to the stage while Tamworth Assembly Rooms is closed for refurbishment.
Feedback from We Will Remember participants has also been fantastic. Comments were summed up by Linda Padgett from Tamworth Voices who said: “It was a tremendous privilege to be able to take part with Tamworth Voices and the rest of the ensemble. It was a great night and I hope all attending enjoyed it. I hope we did Tamworth proud, it made me feel proud to be a part of it. It was wonderful.”
Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said:
“I’d like to congratulate the Arts and Events team on creating a successful production on such a huge scale in St Editha’s Church. Feedback has been fantastic, War Child was amazing and the concert also raised £1,000 towards the repair of the clock, which is a key feature of the town centre.
“This has been a great start to Arts in Unusual Spaces and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.”