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A BEACON OF LIGHT
From Pub to Pulpit: Vaughan Williams Celebration Concert
On Saturday 1 October 2022, Newcastle Cathedral will host From Pub to Pulpit, a touring concert to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the birth of composer Ralph Vaughan Williams. From Pub to Pulpit begins at Chester Cathedral and continues a twenty-date tour culminating with The Three Choirs Festival at Gloucester Cathedral in July 2023.
Vaughan Williams was a well-known collector of folk songs who borrowed tunes he collected from labourers around the country and transformed them into some of our best-known hymns in the 1906 English Hymnal.
From Pub to Pulpit forms part of the RVW150 Festival Year to celebrate the 150th birthday of Vaughan Williams. During the concert, acapella folk group Broomdasher and folk/jazz/classical instrumental trio Coracle will take the audience on a musical journey, starting with the original folk song, going through dance variations, and climaxing with everyone raising the roof with full-blooded renditions of the hymns.
The two musical groups will be joined by the Newcastle Cathedral Choristers and other singers from Newcastle.
The Cathedral reopened in August 2021 following a major redevelopment funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and is still formally known as the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas.
The concert will feature such well-known hymns as ‘To Be a Pilgrim’; ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’; ‘Tis Winter Now the Fallen Snow’, and ‘I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say’.
These will be musically transformed during the concert from the original folk songs: ‘Our Captain Calls’; ‘The Ploughboy’s Dream’; ‘Brisk Young Farmer’, and ‘The Murder of Maria Marten’.
Broomdasher’s Project Director, John Palmer, says, “We’ll aim to entertain, delight and involve you in this From Pub to Pulpit journey, first by taking you to what might be unfamiliar territory, before guiding you to more well-known musical landscapes.”
Hugh Cobbe, of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, states: “From Pub to Pulpit is an extremely imaginative and unique contribution to RVW150 as it crosses the boundaries between the different genres of Vaughan Williams’ music in a way that no other event will.”
Newcastle Cathedral’s Director of Music, Ian Roberts, says “We are very excited to bring such an exciting and important concert to Newcastle Cathedral. Vaughan Williams’ work was innovative for British choral tradition.”
This event is made possible through the support of The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Ahead of the concert, from 6pm – 6:45pm, you are invited to a ‘Vaughan Williams Singing Workshop’. This workshop is free to attend, regardless of whether you have tickets for From Pub to Pulpit.
Along with members of the Cathedral Choir, you will get to sing some of the original folk songs which Vaughan Williams transformed into hymns, and – if you choose to attend the concert later – be well prepared to join in.
This is an exciting opportunity to find out more about the process of transformation from secular folk song to well-loved hymn, and an insight into the way that these groups go about arranging and performing the folk repertoire.