Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society gears up for cathedral premiere of First World War work

Sheringham and Cromer Chorla Society rehearsing their First World War centenary Eventide project. Left to right Ian Barmer (BBC Look East), composer Patrick Hawes, Sylvia Levete (concert manager), Bob Cumber (chairman) and Nathan Waring (musical director). Picture: PAUL WATSON  Sheringham and Cromer Chorla Society rehearsing their First World War centenary Eventide project. Left to right Ian Barmer (BBC Look East), composer Patrick Hawes, Sylvia Levete (concert manager), Bob Cumber (chairman) and Nathan Waring (musical director). Picture: PAUL WATSON

Friday, March 28, 2014
11:00 AM

Rehearsals are under way for a poignant choral work penned especially to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and focussed on a Norfolk heroine.

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Sheringham and Cromer Chorla Society rehearsing their First World War centenary Eventide project.  Picture: PAUL WATSONSheringham and Cromer Chorla Society rehearsing their First World War centenary Eventide project. Picture: PAUL WATSON

Leading classical composer Patrick Hawes has written the piece for the Sheringham and Cromer Choral Society - which will be given its premiere at Norwich Cathedral in July.

The 100-strong society commissioned Mr Hawes to compose the piece, which is a 45-minute work called Eventide.

It is themed on Edith Cavell, who was executed by the Germans in 1915 for saving enemy soldiers as a nurse treating casualties from all sides in Belgium.

Many of the sacred texts chosen by the composer’s poet-priest brother the Rev Andrew Hawes, who wrote the words to the work, were clearly close to her heart of nurse Cavell when she was in prison in Belgium awaiting execution, said society chairman Bob Cumber.

They would be sung alongside quotations from her letters to her family and her nurses.

Mr Hawes had taken time out from a very busy schedule around the launch of his new album Angel to take the choir through its paces - to learn not just how to sing this beautiful music but also properly understand why he had chosen to commemorate the life of nurse Cavell, he added.

The composer told the singers at a rehearsal: “Never before have I been so moved by my own writing”.

Eventide will be performed for the first time in Norwich Cathedral on Saturday July 12 July 2014 with the English Chamber Orchestra and soprano soloist Elin Manahan Thomas.

Mr Cumber said: “Every member of the choir is hugely excited about this once-in-a-lifetime project and greatly looking forward to sharing this wonderful music.”

Mr Hawes will also lead a workshop at the Auden Theatre in Holt on Saturday May 17, where he will talk about the process of composing, referring in particular to Eventide. There will be opportunities for those who wish to sing sections of the new work.

There are free places available for school children – for further information contact info@sheringhamandcromerchoral.co.uk

For more details visit www.sheringhamandcromerchoral.co.uk.

Workshop tickets are available from the Auden Theatre Box Office 01263 713444. Tickets for the world premiere in Norwich Cathedral can be obtained from the Theatre Royal Box Office 01603 630000 or on-line at www.cathedral.org.uk/centenary.

Have you got an event commemorating the First World War? Contact kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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