Busy day for Wessex Consort

MEMBERS of the effervescent Wes­sex Consort choir see April out with a day of singing around Dor­ch­ester.

The concentrated day of singing on Saturday 29th April starts with a “flashmob” warm-up, from around 2pm, at The Trumpet Major, next to Hardy’s house at Max Gate in Dorchester.

Then the choir moves to Stinsford for a 3pm performance of musical settings of Hardy poems in St Michael’s Church, where the poet’s heart is buried.

The busy day ends with a Portraits of Dorset concert in the excellent acoustics of St Mary’s Church in Dorchester, starting at 7.30.

The memorable locations have been specially chosen to celebrate Thomas Hardy, and performed by a dynamic choral ensemble of 12 young professional singers.

“Hardy’s poems are an absolute joy to set for this young choir because there is such a range for the singers to express – from the deeply sad and the troubled, often pessimistic philosophising, to the joyful, the loving, the playfully trivial, and even the hilarious – and variety and real passion is what they like,” says Graham Stansfield, composer and the choir’s founder.

Those who are around for the flashmob can expect to hear Le Train, a gospel number entitled Sing Hallelujah and Gastronomic, a celebration of good food and drink, all composed by Graham and included on the Wessex Consort’s latest CD, A Choir For All Seasons.

“This is a Dorset choir singing songs about Dorset to the people of Dorset within earshot of Thomas Hardy’s home – for free!” says Graham. “What better way to liven up the county town on a Saturday afternoon?”

The Stinsford programme features settings of Hardy poems including Great Things, Weathers, The Oxen and Seen By the Waits. The evening concert will consist of original songs inspired by Dorset and places further afield.