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Songs for Now and Then - Britten's Centenary in West Sussex

FRI 22 NOV 2013

"A great first performance and a hugely rewarding and successful collaboration" Christopher Hussey 

On the afternoon of Friday 22nd November West Sussex Music and Ardingly College joined forces to perform Britten's Friday Afternoons as part of a global event featuring 100,000 young people who gave a performance to celebrate Britten's birthday.  The songs, performed by children from West Sussex schools and Ardingly Prep school choir were originally written for the children of the prep school where Britten's brother taught. 

With the support of Aldeburgh Music,  West Sussex Music and Ardingly College also commissioned a set of songs  in commemoration of the centenary.  Inspired by the Britten Friday Afternoon songs, Songs for Now and Then have text written by Canon Michael Hampel of St Paul's Cathedral and music written by Sussex-based composer Christopher Hussey and Jim Clements, composer-in-residence for VOCES8.

Christopher Hussey said after the concert: "I was thrilled with this first performance  – it surpassed my expectations.  The children from the West Sussex schools and  Ardingly College choirs gave an impressively strong rendition, and coped very well with some challenging choral writing, delivering a fine first performance of the new songs with accuracy and enthusiasm (I loved the actions that had been added to 'The Daily Tweet'!).  The Ardingly seniors sang 'A Hymn for St Cecilia' beautifully and with great feeling. I hope that everyone involved is proud of their achievements."

Emily Barden, Curriculum Leader for Choirs and Voice for West Sussex Music was instrumental in the events conception and conducted the new songs in this first performance.  "This was a hugely rewarding and successful collaboration.  I have been hugely impressed by all the children - some of whom were singing the songs for the first time.  It has been a remarkable day and I hope Benjamin Britten would have enjoyed this birthday celebration."