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Festival to celebrate choral music in County Durham

Jan 30, 2022 | Leisure & Lifestyle

World-famous artists will be part of a returning festival which helps to further young people’s learning of choral music in County Durham.

Durham Vocal Festival was established by Durham Music Service (DMS) in 2017 to celebrate the heritage and depth of choral music in the county and the wider North East.

DMS, which is operated by Durham County Council, provides musical opportunities for pupils throughout County Durham and Darlington supported by funding from Arts Council England, local schools and other public and private sector funding.

The fifth annual festival will include a mixture of virtual and live events and take place from Saturday 5 February to Saturday 12 February. Education and outreach is at the heart of the festival, with development events as the foundation and artists brought in to facilitate learning in young people and the community.

This year’s event will feature fantastic artists such as Gabrieli and EXAUDI, firm favourites such as Northern Lights and over 1,000 young people from across the North East. Events will be live and streamed live, featuring a world premiere from Berwick-based composer Michael Worboys, a performance of Haydn’s Creation with the world-famous conductor Paul McCreesh as well as the Primary and Secondary Choir of the Year competitions, and the Big Sign and Sing 2022.

A Capella at the Gala will be performed at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8 February at Durham City’s Gala Theatre featuring Northern Lights, one of County Durham’s most exciting vocal groups. Northern Lights came second in the UK finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella in 2021 and enjoyed a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last summer.

At 7.30pm on Thursday 10 February at Durham Cathedral, the premiere of Presence/Absence, a new composition from Michael Worboys, will take place.

And Re-Creation at Durham Cathedral will be performed at 7.30pm on Saturday 12 February, as 100 young singers from Gabrieli’s choral training scheme, Gabrieli Roar, take to the stage alongside world-class period instrumentalists, singers and renowned soloists.

This performance – part of a series of five concerts – is the culmination of an ambitious scheme to reinvigorate youth choirs around the country, who have faced acute challenges during the pandemic. Led by Gabrieli artistic director, Paul McCreesh, Re-

Creation promises an inspirational and uplifting evening of some of the most glorious music in the classical genre.

Cllr Ted Henderson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for children and young people’s services, said: “This year’s Durham Vocal Festival promises to be a brilliant occasion, bringing world-renowned music artists to our county and hopefully inspiring the next generation through their performances.

“Hosting the festival builds on our reputation as a truly cultural county as we look to be named UK City of Culture 2025.”

Details of all festival events including information on how to book tickets can be found at www.durhamvocalfestival.co.uk/