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LIVE 24-SEVEN


THREE CHOIRS FESTIVAL HEREFORD, 28 JULY – 4 AUGUST 2018


The historic Three Choirs Festival has revealed its full programme for the 2018 festival, which takes place in and around Hereford from 28 July – 4 August 2018. The festival features over 70 events in eight days, complementing the evening concerts of choral music which form the heart of the festival with a wide range of chamber recitals, talks, exhibitions and family events.


This year, the festival’s nominated charity is SHYPP, which works with young people at risk of homelessness in Herefordshire. Working with the festival and Herefordshire’s local music hub Encore, the SHYPP singers will join three other local choirs to perform Gavin Bryars’ Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, bookended by two films SHYPP have developed that explore the idea of home and homelessness (29 July).


After last year’s success, the festival will continue its Festival Firsts scheme, which provides free tickets for concerts and events to local people who are first-time festival attenders. The tickets are paid for by donations from supporters of the festival, who are invited to donate the price of a seat when they buy their own festival tickets. There are also numerous free events throughout the week including talks and exhibitions. The various services at the heart of the festival are also free, including the opening service (28 July), festival eucharist (29 July), Compline in the cathedral crypt by the Ethelbert Consort, and the daily evensongs. For young people 26 and under, access to selected chamber music recitals and cathedral rehearsal passes is also free of charge.


The heart of the festival will once again be the Festival Hub, located in Hereford Cathedral School, where concert-goers and passers-by can find hot and cold meals as well as a bar and café, a free art exhibition and a friendly place to meet friends or spend a quiet moment.


Families are also welcome and there are plenty of events for children, including an introduction to the wind quintet with the Magnard Ensemble, a dark retelling of Hansel and Gretel performed by the Goldfield Ensemble for teens and adults, shadow puppet storytelling with string quartet, and drama, drumming and puppetry workshops.


The festival is a huge tourism event for the city with around 4-5,000 visitors expected over the course of the festival, as well as providing a platform for local musicians and youth ensembles. The festival chorus, drawn from local choral societies, will perform alongside the world-famous Philharmonia Orchestra, who are the festival’s orchestra-in-residence. Meanwhile the festival’s youth choir gives local young people aged 14-25 the chance to perform Cecilia McDowall’s beautifully poignant Stabat Mater in the prestigious setting of Hereford Cathedral (4 August).


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This year Artistic Director Geraint Bowen has taken notable centenaries as a starting point for his programming, including the 1918 passing of the Representation of the People Act, which signalled the start of universal suffrage in the UK. The festival celebrates this anniversary by programming works by female composers, such as Ethel Smyth, herself a prominent member of the suffragette movement, whose magnificent Mass in D opens the festival along with John Ireland’s These things shall be (28 July).


The festival will also reflect on the centenary of the end of the First World War with a concert by renowned vocal ensemble Tenebrae (30 July), featuring music by several composers with a strong connection to the Three Choirs Festival such as Herbert Howells, Ivor Gurney, Sir Hubert Parry, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and more recently Torsten Rasch. A more local connection is established in a talk by Dr Howard Tomlinson, former headmaster of Hereford Cathedral School, in which he reads from the diary of former chorister Sydney Addison and gives an impression of post-war schoolboy life (30 July).


For tickets call: 01452 768928 10am-4pm, Monday to Friday. A local ticket office will open in Hereford Cathedral School on Monday 23 July. www.3choirs.org


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