Wakefield music and art project commemorates First World War

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A new project that commemorates the First World War is in need of singers and choirs from across Wakefield and Pontefract.

Arts organisation Edgelands Arts has teamed up with composer Charlie Wells to develop new music that will run alongside an archive exploring how music was used as propaganda in the Great War as well as visual art works interpreting music and stories of the time.

Funded through £9,900 from Heritage Lottery Fund and £14,936 from Arts Council England Project Funding, ‘Trench Symphony - for the Mothers and Sons’ will see artists Helen Thomas and Tony Wade work with local groups to create artworks for use as a back drop during a performance of the new music.

Any interested choirs or groups would get the chance to take part in a workshop and performance in Wakefield Cathedral on November 14.

Choirs of all shapes and sizes are welcome. The artists are also looking for schools and groups in Wakefield to take part in visual arts workshops.

Mr Wade said: “We are delighted to have this opportunity to work with Charlie on this project which will enable us to utilise our visual community arts skills in an exploration of such a poignant topic and combine these discoveries in an exciting new music composition.”

The project will be inspired by text, memories, stories and music from the First World War, researched and gathered from personal and public collections across the UK by volunteers. Using traditional music notation, graphic scores and improvisation, this piece explores the themes of recruitment, expectation, platitudes, reality and reflection.

Miss Wells will also work with local volunteers and young people from the Wakefield and Kirklees areas to develop a new online archive of recorded popular songs and trench songs created by soldiers on the front.

Charlie said: “This project will enable me to work with a subject I find deeply emotive and inspiring, and I am really looking forward to exploring this new music with groups in the Wakefield area and further afield.”

Email edgelandsarts@gmail.com for more information.