The Community Programme

Impressive though it was, the premiere performance at Durham Cathedral was just a small part of the Durham Hymns project.

St Josephs RC Church, Felling. Photo credit: Alison Lister

Further performances took place across the region:

Saurday 24 September 2016, 7.30pm Ushaw College
Durham with Bearpark and Esh Brass Band, Voices of Hope and the Centenary Choir

Friday 23 February 2017, 7.30pm, St Josephs RC Church, Gateshead
Dunston Silver Band, Voices of Hope and the Centenary Choir

Saturday 18 March, 2017, 7.30pm, Sunderland Minster
Durham Miners’ Association Brass Band with Voices of Hope and The Centenary Choir

Saturday 29 April 2017, 7.30pm, Ushaw College
Reg Vardy Band, Voices of Hope and the Centenary Choir

Mark Edwards was the conductor at each performance and the narrators were Phillippa Wilson and Chris Connel.

Simon Fidler, rehearsals in St James and St Basil. Photo credit: Alison Lister 

There were also two performances of the hymns cycle by Voices of Hope without musical accompaniment other than Alison Gill on piano. These were:

Bishop Auckland Town Hall at 7.30pm on Friday 10 March 2017 

St James and St Basil Church, Fenham 1pm on Saturday 25 March 2017

Narrator Phillippa Wilson at Ushaw College. Photo credit: Colin Davison
Conductor Mark Edwards at Ushaw College. Photo credit: Colin Davison

As part of the overall project the NRBBT was also able to offer grants to bands wanting to commission new material for their own WW1 commemorative events. Grants were given to: 

  • Lanchester Brass Band
  • Spennymoor Town Band, for a work composed by Ben Hollings, inspired by the life of Kate Maxey, a First World War Nurse who came from Spennymoor
  • Consett Brass Band, for a piece in memory of John Edgar, a 21-year-old soldier killed in the First World War, an “ordinary” Consett person who made the supreme sacrifice
  • Dunston Silver Youth Band, for a new piece of music by local music teacher, composer and performer, Will Roberts. The piece was  inspired by the bravery of Private Thomas Young VC who came from High Spen
  • NASUWT Riverside Band, for a new work to be played each year at the Remembrance Day service at Pelton Fell

Our ambition is to embed the hymns within the culture of County Durham and beyond, with the hymns being performed either individually or as a suite, in contest, concerts and in other fitting occasions. We hope that bands, choirs, churches, community venues and community organisations will perform those hymns that they find particularly moving, or that have particular relevance for them.