I am very proud to present the performance of a choral piece I wrote for the Unearthed project, remembering the tragedy at Lidice and the donations by the Miners of Stoke on Trent who vowed that ‘Lidice shall live!’ and pledged a days pay until the end of WWII to rebuild the village destroyed by the Nazis.
The piece consists of 6 parts, three harmonies constitute the ‘Follow’ line (though the harmonies don’t come in until the end), and then 3 melody lines run over each other after a staggered introduction.
I wrote this piece not knowing if we would have a full choir or just a handful of volunteers. As it happened, we ended up with the excellent Stoke 6th Form performing arts group and additional volunteers.
It is my first composed and performed piece for harmony voices, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out, especially considering how little time the guys had to learn, practice and choreograph the various entrances and routes of the melody groups that entered from three different angles to eventually join the backing group on stage.
I wrote this to be simple for each individual part, but when everyone is singing together, it is hard work to keep your ear on the beat, not waiver from your melody, and project. But they all did a fantastic job and I was so impressed when I heard it on the day.
I had the added honour of joining them for the performance, and that really helped me appreciate how well they had all put this together when I was fretting about my key, stage position, movements, projection!
The song is based on the poem I wrote ‘Barnett’s few’ – each verse is a melody. In the end due to time constraints, we didn’t include the final couplet outro, and opted for a unison ‘Follow, Follow!’ after a section of hummed melodies. This was worked out by the group themselves and I thought it was really effective in the end.
Anyway, please do take the time to have a watch and listen and if you enjoy it, visit http://www.unearthed2013.co.uk and make your pledge to remember the story of Lidice and have your initials included on a new sculpture to be unveiled later this year in Hanley, Stoke on Trent, by the Victoria Hall where MP Barnett Stross first vowed that ‘Lidice shall live!’.
For more on the story that inspired this, visit the Unearthed website. The lyrics (poem) that I wrote for this (before composing the music) can be found here: