Singers selected by top composer

Choir members Rosie Dooley and Richard Billington
Choir members Rosie Dooley and Richard Billington

A Harborough choir has been granted special permission to upload music by a leading British composer to YouTube.

The internet’s most successful video channel, YouTube receives an estimated 15 billion visitors per month and is the world’s leading site for music videos.

The music, a cantata for mixed voice and piano entitled ‘In the Beginning’, is by composer Edward Gregson. Commissioned in 1981 by the Harborough Singers with funding from East Midlands Arts, it was premiered by the choir at the Purcell Room on London’s South Bank the following year.

Gregson, composer in residence at Black Dyke Band, enjoys international recognition as a composer of music for brass instruments. ‘In the Beginning’ is one of his rare choral works. He began work on it while still a student at the Royal Academy of Music in the 1960s, using text from Genesis and from a specially written poem by Susan Smith, who was later to become his wife.

Harborough singer Gill Guest said: “Published by Novello and available worldwide, the front page of the score has ‘written for the Harborough Singers’ emblazoned across it, so it seemed appropriate that the first performance of it uploaded to the internet should be that of a Harborough choir.

“I was so thrilled when Edward agreed, I immediately posted it on Facebook and Twitter.

“Within minutes I’d learned of a spooky coincidence – that Kettering’s Ladies choir Belcanto are due to perform a women’s only version of the very same piece on April 23 at the Salvation Army Hall in Kettering, in a joint concert with the Kettering GUS band.

“Even better, the Kettering concert is a Gregson tribute, celebrating his 70th birthday, and he’s going to be there!

“I’m very much looking forward to meeting him and to saying thank you.”

For more information about the Harborough Singers, visit www.harborough
singers.com.