Big Sing Day

Will Todd brings his 'Mass in Blue'

  • 18 March 2016
  • Author: Janet
  • Number of views: 3483

With all due respect to the nation's many choral societies, it has to be said that there are some whose older members are notoriously unadventurous in their choice of repertoire. Ask them to sing anything written in the last 50 (even 100) years and they will throw up their hands in horror and say it is awful - even before they have heard it. Youth choirs on the other hand are generally remarkably flexible and adaptable and will sing what's given to them from Machaut to Mashup. There are also, we admit, many older choirs who similarly take this open attitude to what they will sing.

With apologies for that dreadful generalisation but bearing in mind the flexibility of youth choirs, we hope that some of them will consider coming to this year's Swaledale Festival Big Sing Day (BSD) with Will Todd on Saturday 4 June in Richmond School. Doors open at 10:00 and singing (with lunch and tea breaks) is from 11:00 to 17:00. 

Will Todd is one of today's foremost composers and has written some wonderful choir music. Richmondshire Choral Society, which is the official 'Angel' for this event, sang his beautiful Stay with me, Lord in its December 2013 concert and his gorgeous carol My Lord has come in December 2015. It was originally scheduled to sing Mass in Blue for its December 2015 concert but this had to be cancelled when their Musical Director, Peter Collis, passed away in November 2014. RCS is, therefore, particularly pleased to have this opportunity to to be associated with this event. 

Richmond School is an ideal location for the BSD. Most visitors will arrive via the A1 from Scotch Corner and the school is on the left on the eastern outskirts of the town. It is very easily identifiable as it has 'Richmond School' in VERY large letters on the end of the Clarke Hall building, where the BSD is held. There is ample car parking for both cars and coaches (most pupils arrive by coach) and, as well as the hall, we have use of a large dining area with access to an outdoor picnic area that is also well equipped with tables, benches etc. Bottled water, tea (courtesy Mad Hatter Tea Co.) and coffee will be available all day and Festival sponsor Brymor Ice Cream will have their van in the grounds with their excellent ice cream on sale. Free pork pies from new sponsor for this year, Vale of Mowbray Pies will also be available from their tasting trailer. We do ask participants to bring a packed lunch (unless a pork pie, an ice-cream and a cup of tea is sufficient)  as the school is about 1 mile out of town and car parking is difficult on Saturdays as it is market day. Festival stewards will be on duty all day to help with anything.

Tickets for the BSD are £18 for adults and just £3 for under 19s and they can be booked quickly and easily online here. If you would like to bring a group but want some help or advice from the Festival about it, please contact Jill Armstrong, Festival Administrator at or 01748 880018

With all this emphasis on groups attending, there is also lots of room for individual singers who may or may not belong to a choir. The music is provided and whilst it is an advantage to be able to read music, it's not essential. This is not a day for competition or for the stress of giving a public performance. It's purely a day to savour the enjoyment of singing guided by the composer of the music.

We hope we'll see you there.



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