Singers from the Holme Valley are needed for a massed choral event at this year’s Holmfirth Arts Festival.
Organisers aim to form a Sing Holmfirth! chorus of 250 voices to perform eight songs, written by local composer Barry Russell, at a special open air afternoon concert on Sunday, June 17.
Barry created the collection of songs about the Holme Valley with hopes that it will revive the long-standing tradition of the Holmfirth ‘Feast Sing’, which took place in the town’s Victoria Park every year from 1812 until 1990. He said: “It’s been an ongoing dream of mine to create new work in the valley, which is about the area and includes local people.
“I see this as the beginning of a new legacy of singing for Holmfirth and the surrounding area.”
His songs feature everything from the scenic River Holme and Bamforth’s historic postcards to the more recent Grand Depart of the Tour de Yorkshire, which travelled through Holmfirth. He gathered initial ideas for the collection by viewing Facebook posts to find local phrases and insights.
Sing Holmfirth! will involve children from Holmfirth Junior & Infant School, Wooldale Junior School and Holmfirth High School, as well as members of the Holme Valley Orchestra.
Archivist Heather Norris Nicholson and oral history expert Charlie Wells, plan to record and share the choral traditions of the Holme Valley and are appealing for information from valley residents and former residents.
“We particularly hope to gather memories about the Holmfirth Feasts that continued over many decades,” said Heather. “So we need local people to tell us what Holmfirth’s past open air singing choral occasions were like - whether as a performer, audience member, chair-shifter, ticket-seller, fund raiser, or in some other role we haven’t even thought of.”
To sing in the event contact Barry Russell on email@example.com or call 07720 661822. More information about how to get involved in this and other festival
projects can be found on the festival website holmfirthartsfestival.co.uk
Holmfirth Arts Festival is in its tenth year and takes place between June 14 and 17. Organisers are also planning a Follow the Swallow Carnival Parade through Holmfirth on Saturday, June 16, and are running a series of free workshops for participants from May 29 onwards. To take part, sign up on the website.