Con­cert for Ar­mistice stirs singers’ emo­tions

Poignant pro­gramme

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - THE WEEKEND TICKET - Sharon Lip­trott

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

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