We can be very proud of this tribute to the fallen and its part in the climax to the town’s four years of WW1 remembrance. Karl Jenkins’ “The Armed Man” is justly revered for its haunting tunes and vivid picture-painting. It seems to respond to a deep need we have to comprehend, exorcise perhaps, the troubled history of the last century. We gave it our all and were rewarded with an exceptionally warm response.
We share the honours with Gill Fourie and her Salesbury School choir – a very affecting performance involving giant poppies. They also brought in a significant share of a near-capacity audience.
The Blackburn and Darwen Band accompanied us. It’s somewhat disconcerting to work with a brass band. After the intensity and duration of our own rehearsals, their seeming nonchalance just hours before the show is disconcerting. My neighbour Peter, noting the staggered arrival of bandsmen at rehearsal, was moved to wonder if they were a sort of flashmob. Of course they rose splendidly to the occasion as they inevitably do. Hearing their Finlandia at very close quarters is never to be forgotten.
The Armed Man calls for two soloists. Rebecca Barry, a recent Royal Northern College of Music graduate. Her rendition of the sombre Kyrie was riveting.
This was Abi Kitching’s first outing as our leader, the first, it is devoutly to be wished, of many. We dare to think that our performance rewarded the fervour and intensity she has brought to the choir. One senses we have exciting times ahead. Mike Waters