Altnagelvin Choir spring concert

Altnagelvin Hospital Choir will be performing their Spring Concert on Saturday 7th May at 7.30pm in St. Columb’s Cathedral, Derry. The programme takes its theme and inspiration from the words of James Agee’s poem, ‘Sure on this Shining Night.’ It will feature an evocative, romantic programme of choral music, perfect for a spring evening.

The central work is Louis Vierne’s early-twentieth century masterpiece, Messe Solennelle: a joyful, Eastertide Mass for choir and organ. It was premiered in the church of Saint-Sulpice in Paris in 1901. The Messe Solennelle features moments of real grandeur; there are dazzling sections when the Cathedral organ will be heard in all its splendour. Of course, there are also delicate passages of intense melodic and harmonic beauty.

Saturday night’s programme also contains shorter works which develop the theme of approaching night. FaurÈ’s Cantique de Jean Racine is a stunning setting of an old French bedtime prayer; Rachmaninov’s Bogoroditsye Dyevo (Hymn to the Virgin) is another night-time prayer of the Russian Orthodox Church.

In addition, audiences can hear music by Armagh-born composer Charles Wood, Henry Balfour Gardiner, Saint-SaÎns and even Arthur Sullivan (better known for his work with librettist W.S. Gilbert). The evening will draw to a close with a performance of the James Agee poem from which the concert takes its title set to music by the American contemporary composer Morten Lauridsen.

This year, the funds raised from the concert will support Altnagelvin Hospital’s Vision 2020 link programme with Nigeria. Vision 20/20 is a global initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness.† As part of this ambition, a team from the Eye Department in Altnagelvin Hospital has a 3-year link program with a hospital in Kano, Nigeria. The project is specifically aimed at improving eye care for children. Amongst the goals is improving the mortality rate from retinoblastoma, a childhood eye cancer.

To this end an awareness campaign is being set up which will involve 5,000 posters in 3 different languages being placed in health facilities in the four states around Kano.† Health workers will be trained to deal efficiently with children that present as a result.

It is hoped that everyone will enjoy the evening. Tickets for the concert can be obtained by contacting 02871345171 Ext: 3356 or 3996, from any choir member or at that door on the evening.