• April 15, 2018
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The promised kiss of springtime…

The Solway Singers’ spring concert this year has a modern and transatlantic feel to it.  Even the anchor piece of the entire concert, Vaughan Williams’ Toward the Unknown Region, written in 1906, has an American link as the words were written by Walt Whitman.

The programme for the concert includes settings of folk songs from both sides of the Atlantic – Aaron Copeland’s light-hearted I bought me a cat and others from ‘Old American Songs are balanced by British folksongs from ever-popular British composer John Rutter’s lovely ‘Sprig of Thyme’ – as well as jazz and even popular music.  George Shearing was a British composer who moved to live in America: his settings of Shakespeare songs include the gorgeous Who is Sylvia? and the sultry, tongue in cheek Live with Me and Be My Love.

The American blues/music theatre composers of the time of Gershwin are not forgotten, with two songs by Jerome Kern arranged for choir; and gospel influences can be heard in the choral arrangement of Simon & Garfunkel’s signature song Bridge over Troubled Water (1970).  The most modern piece is then Ola Gjeilo’s The Ground (2008).  The Norwegian composer now lives in the United States, but the floating, linear harmonies of this piece and its religious text neatly remind us of Solway Singers’ roots in the British choral tradition: and that it’s a tradition which is going strong to this day, with composers still writing beautiful music for both religious and secular reasons.

By way of contrast, talented cornet player Olivia Beckett will be Solway Singers’ guest soloist for these concerts.

Performances take place:

– at St. Patrick’s church, Patterdale on Saturday 5th May at 6pm (free entry; gift-aided donations to their Music Account welcome)

– at Canonbie United Parish Church on Sunday 6th May at 3pm (£10 full price; students £5; school-age children accompanied by an adult free) and are available from either church, from choir members, Solway Singers Chair Janet Madden (07789 263605/ jahmadden@btinternet.com) or on the door.

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