Choir set for a booming show

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WHEN Lord Williams’s Festival Chorus sings Hierusalem on Saturday, singers will be hoping the concert goes with a bang – although hopefully not the sort with which the work’s composer would have been familiar.

This beautiful and rarely performed choral piece was written by George Dyson, the distinguished author of the respected wartime manual, Grenade Warfare: Notes On The Training And Organisation Of Grenadiers.

The book includes advice on explosives, improvised bombs and bayonet fighting.

Choir chair Clare Humphries said: “Hierusalem is such a peaceful, haunting work that it’s difficult to imagine the horrors the composer must have seen during the First World War. Perhaps that’s what gives the piece its poignancy.

“With Jerusalem as a theme, we all agreed we just had to add Parry’s great eponymous hymn to the programme, and we’ll also be performing the inspiring Beethoven’s Mass in C.”

The choir will be joined by internationally-acclaimed string soloists, Sarah Jane Bradley and Lorraine McAslan, who will be performing Arthur Benjamin’s sumptuous Romantic Fantasy for violin, viola and orchestra with Ealing Symphony Orchestra.

Thame choir is fast developing a reputation for staging surprises. Past concerts have included Hovhaness’s And God Created Great Whales – an extraordinary piece that mixed real whale sound with full symphony orchestra – and hosted surprise appearances by Nicola Benedetti, cellist Leonard Elschenbroich and Young Musician of the Year 2010 Lara Ömerolu.

Conductor John Gibbons said: “Our programmes will continue to mix well-known pieces alongside the not-so-well known and the totally unexpected.

“Hopefully our discerning audience will continue to grow as people become aware that our concerts are never ‘fuddyduddy’ and anything might happen.”

The concert is on Saturday, March 26, at Thame Leisure Centre. The show starts at 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £13, £10 and £1 and are available from Rosemary on 01844 344083, from Cargo in Thame or Thame Leisure Centre, or from www.lordwilliamsfestivalchorus.org.uk