Concert for Armistice stirs singers’ emotions
Alastair Rigg and Pam Taylor of Dumfries Choral Society will be remembering lost relatives when they perform in a poignant concert tomorrow.
The event, in the Crichton Church at Dumfries, inset, comes on the eve of the Armistice centenary and the programme has been chosen to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Practising has been a personal and poignant experience for Alastair (bass), whose great-uncle John Wallace died at Gallipoli.
He said: “More than 30 million people died in the Great War – my greatuncle Johnny among them. He signed up with my grandfather and two other brothers, lying about his age so they could be together in the Royal Scots.
“Taking part in this concert is the chance to honour his memory as an individual as well as a general commemoration for all the fallen.”
Soprano Pam has also found singing the Armed Man in the concert an emotional experience.
She said: “It is such a compelling account of the descent into war and its horrific consequences. The music is dramatic, the message stark. Thankfully it ends on a tranquil note with the hope for peace in the future.”
The choir will perform two works which represent dramatically different perspectives on the conflict – one looking forward with high ideals, the other looking back, sadder and wiser. Agincourt, by George Dyson, takes its text from Shakespeare’s Henry V and while to modern sensibilities is perhaps jingoistic, it resonates with the enthusiastic patriotism pervading Britain (and Germany) at the outset of the war.
Many of the young men who set out for the front went in high spirits with just those sentiments: simple patriotism, wanting to do their bit, a band of brothers.
In the second half, the choir will perform The Armed Man, by Karl Jenkins. This is a modern work which provides a stark contrast to the idealised patriotism of Agincourt. Its subtitle is A Mass for Peace and its text draws on the Christian mass, medieval and modern poetry from different countries, as well as Muslim and Hindu texts. Tickets for the concert, which starts at 7pm, are available from choir members, the Midsteeple Box Office, or at the door.
Roles Pam Taylor and Alastair Rigg of choral society