Sunday, 10 April 2016

A Mass for Peace

I spent the first part of today marshalling a walk for Barnsley Hospice at Wentworth Castle this morning. Not that I wasn't also sparing thoughts for those who have been unfortunate, yet fortunate enough to have benefitted, directly or indirectly, from the services of a hospice, but I couldn't help but reflect on how much of an assault on the senses Karl Jenkins' "The Armed Man", a Mass for Peace, represents. Such an experience for the over one hundred members of Waldershelf Singers and Stannington Mixed choirs, who performed this powerful hour long piece last night!
I'd like to say I am thankful that I went to the Victoria Hall in Sheffield to witness this. Even though I am very familiar with this piece and have heard it many times over the past few years, last night It moved me more than I could ever have expected; and this is simply because it was performed so very, very well. I am feeling very proud to have been and still to be associated with the Waldershelf Singers and many of the performing musicians and singers. The fact that Waldershelf Singers' musical director, who conducted this performance, almost broke down at the end out of shear emotional exhaustion, is testament to the fact that this piece of music is undeniably a powerful tour de force; so well done Rachel! This was your own tour de force. Soloists: Hilary Osborn, Emily Doreen Atkinson, Daniel Timmins, Thomas Baycroft; to the musicians of the Inyerface Arts group: Joseph Shaw, Jack Chapman, Martin Thiselton and several other key and talented musicians; the back stage and front of house crews, Steve Osborn, Emily Needle and MANY more! Such a huge effort for a production that raised a lot of money for Contact the Elderly and British Red Cross. 
As a postscript, of course, it cannot be forgotten why this piece of music was written at the turn of the millennium, at the end of a century dominated by the most distructive of wars. We are also in the midst of the centenary commemorating the first of those wars, WW1. Karl Jenkins intention was to embrace all faiths and religions of the world, not forgetting the presence last night of an Imam from the Sheffield Mosque, who 'sang' the second movement, the Call to Prayers. These aims are very much in keeping with those of the Bardo Group, founded by G Jamie Dedes ... reminding us of our need to rise above the polarisation of politics and religion across the world.
I leave you with this ...