On Saturday 9th April – several current students and alumni (both staff and students) joined with two large community choirs as soloists to perform in “The Armed Man- A mass for Peace” by Karl Jenkins to a sell- out audience in the Victoria Hall.
The production was exciting and new as it replaced the string section of the orchestra with electric guitar (Jack Chapman) and bass. The work had been chosen not only for its popularity with audiences and accessibility for choirs but for the message of being anti-war and promoting community cohesion. It is a multi-faith work using the Mass as a framework to include the Islam call to prayer, French folk songs, poetry by Dryden Kipling and Toge Sancichi a survivor of Hiroshima.
We have to thank Tisha Cooper for helping us make contact with Zahid Saleem of the Medina Mosque who recited the Adhaan – it was a moving experience. Zahid said afterwards that events like this are so important for community cohesion. One elderly chorister said that the most moving thing for him that evening was the embrace between the soloists and Zahid at the end.
The event was for charity over £1300 was raised for the Red Cross and for Contact for the Elderly.
The picture shows soloists Hilary Osborn(soprano), Emily Atkinson (mezzo), Tom Baycroft (tenor) , Joesph Shaw (tenor) and former staff member Dan Timmins (baritone) performing a 5 five part interlude to the Kyrie in the style of Palestrina.
You can also see Rhianna Burnage (‘cello solo on the Benedictus), Patrick Shields, Melissa Doody and Lucas Ferguson in the ensemble. Martin Thiselton (keyboards) and Charlie James (timpani) are just out of sight. Many thanks also to Alex Shields for his haunting playing of “The Last Post” and outstanding support.
Overall the evening was spectacular receiving a standing ovation from the audience. Thank you everyone from the Academy who was involved or came to hear it.