Special Durham concert announced to remember the Somme

Jimmy Hayes at Durham Cathedral
Jimmy Hayes at Durham Cathedral
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A moving musical concert will commemorate one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War.

Durham Cathedral will host the premiere of a major new brass band and choir collaboration to mark the passing of 100 years since the beginning of the Battle of the Somme.

Cornet player Jimmy Hayes

Cornet player Jimmy Hayes

Inspired by the people of County Durham, The Durham Hymns, which features lyrics specially written by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, will be performed on the evening of Saturday, July 16.

The concert will form part of this year’s Durham International Brass Festival and will feature a 60-piece brass band under the direction of conductor Alan Fernie, a community choir and the semi-professional ensemble Voices of Hope, directed by Simon Fidler.

It will also feature cornet player Jimmy Hayes, aka Johnny Midnight, who will lend his talent to helping commemorate the sacrifices made during the Somme. Celebrated composers Orlando Gough and Jessica Curry have drawn upon the region’s deep cultural connections with brass band and choral music for the piece.

A third composer, Johnny Bates, will write a separate musical prelude to The Hymns written solely for brass band. This will be a response to composer George Butterworth’s The Banks of Green Willow. Butterworth was a Lieutenant in the Durham Light Infantry and was killed in action on August 6 1916 during the Somme offensive.

Tickets in the nave cost £20 (£15 conc), by the font are £18 (£13 conc) from the Gala Theatre Box Office on Tel. 0300 026 6600.