Children invited to join one-off choir concert

PUBLISHED: 11:26 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 11:27 04 May 2010

John Rutter. Picture: IAN RAY

John Rutter. Picture: IAN RAY

ONE of Britain s most respected composers is to form a choir, made up of local children, for a spectacular one-off concert at Ely Cathedral. John Rutter, whose work is performed across the world, is continuing a long-standing relationship with the cathedr

ONE of Britain's most respected composers is to form a choir, made up of local children, for a spectacular one-off concert at Ely Cathedral.

John Rutter, whose work is performed across the world, is continuing a long-standing relationship with the cathedral by staging Music of the Children on May 1, a choral piece which will be sung by children from schools across the district.

The cathedral will be holding an open audition on Saturday (21) to find children aged between eight and 13 for the choir.

"It's hugely important to get children involved in music," Mr Rutter, 60, said, "because that's when they enjoy it or not - it's like swimming - you don't know if you like it until you've tried it.

"I remember with terrific pleasure when I was in a children's choir, and I hope this will be something they remember for the rest of their lives."

The Ely Standard spoke to Mr Rutter at the cathedral's Lady Chapel last week, where he was being filmed by a crew from arts documentary programme The South Bank Show.

"I've shied away from publicity, but the programme makers approached me," he said.

"They've followed me around for six months - they were with me in New York to get a taste of when I was at Carnegie Hall conducting the Messiah."

The programme will be aired on ITV in March.

"I have enjoyed it, although I didn't think I would."

He said being interviewed by Melyvn Bragg was a particular highlight and the filming took place in Ely because the Lady Chapel is his favourite place to record his own choir, The Cambridge Singers.

"It was when I was at Cambridge that I first visited Ely and I thought this would be a wonderful place to make a recording," he said.

"I love it because the Lady Chapel has wonderful acoustics, a beautiful feeling of history and peace and quiet, and my first commercial recording was made here."

"They wanted to film me at the Lady Chapel because my choir is a part of my life that means a lot to me."

He said he was looking forward to conducting May's performance of Music of the Children, which he described as having a "spring-like flavour".

The concert will also raise funds for the cathedral's music appeal, which aims to keep running costs for the cathedral's musical events low through donations and legacies.

"The Music Appeal will safeguard the future of music here - you can never assume it will be safe," Mr Rutter said.

"This cathedral does have a special place in my heart."

INFO: All children between eight and 13 are welcome to attend Saturday's audition. Anyone interested in auditioning should arrive at the cathedral between 10am and 2pm, where directions will be signposted.

The cathedral is also looking for sponsorship for the event, so as much money is raised for the appeal as possible. Contact Leslie-Ann Thompson on 01353 660350 for more information.

FACTfile

# John Rutter was born in London in 1945, but has lived in Cambridge since he completed his degree in music at Clare College.

# He formed his own choir, The Cambridge Singers, in 1981, and has since recorded his compositions for labels including Universal, Naxos and Hyperion.

# He is an honorary fellow of Princeton University, a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians, and has been awarded the Lambeth Doctorate of Music. His setting of Psalm 150 was commissioned for the Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations, and was performed at The Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral.

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