Thrill to the sound of music at summer concert extravaganza

The Gospel Touch choir who feature in the Voices of Craven
The Gospel Touch choir who feature in the Voices of Craven

The Voices of Craven, a superb musical initiative that aims to use the power of song to build up local community choirs and bring world renowned musicians to Lancashire, is back for 2017.

Voices of Craven has once again engaged the services of Tom Leech, described as Yorkshire’s own Gareth Malone, to direct the massed choir.

Nick Bannister, one of the founders of Voices of Craven, said: “Tom is an outstanding choral director and organist.

“He is director of the Diocese of Leeds Schools Singing Programme and musical director of Bradford Festival Choral Society with numerous recording, broadcast and recital credits to his name.

“Everyone who worked with him last year loved him and he gave even the shyest people the confidence to sing.”

Rehearsals are already in full swing but new members are being encouraged to join up and prepare for a finale concert in Giggleswick School Chapel on Saturday, June 24th, when the choir will perform alongside professional soloists including locally based opera star Bibi Heal.

This will close the season of concerts planned for June, which aim to bring world renowned musicians to rural locations across Craven.

Festival Director Jane Rice-Bowen said:“We’re presenting Royal Opera House quality artists at village hall prices to make sure that Craven residents can experience amazing music without having to travel long distances.”

Bibi Heal features in “Opera, Song and All That Jazz” at Coniston Hotel on Thursday, June 1st, performing alongside Grammy nominated jazz guitarist Neil C Young.

International opera star Sarah Fox is appearing with English National Opera favourites Valerie Reid and Austin Gunn together with Royal Opera House regular Graeme Danby on Saturday, June 10th at St Alkelda’s Church, Giggleswick.

On Thursday, June 15th, folk legend Maddy Prior will be performing at The Church of St James in Clapham.

The award winning Gospel Touch choir will be in Gargrave on Saturday, June 17th, to run a vocal workshop and then give a family friendly concert at St Andrew’s Church.

The Voices of Craven Festival concludes with a grand finale concert on Saturday, June 24th, in the magnificent Giggleswick School Chapel featuring the massed Voices of Craven Choir.

Voices of Craven is a new arts initiative which aims to use music and in particular singing to promote rural regeneration and combat isolation among inhabitants of Craven, North Yorkshire.

It began in 2015 as the brainchild of a small group of clergy and lay people who believed that choral music could be used to connect, inspire and enliven their rural communities.

Within a very short time frame and with a limited budget they put together a programme of activity which ran through spring 2016 and culminated in a month of choral activity during June 2016.

Over 100 people participated in the choirs and performed as the massed Voices of Craven Choir.

Over 1000 people attended high quality professional music events, staged in community focused venues at affordable prices.

The response to the project was overwhelmingly positive and the founders decided not merely to repeat the project but to grow the initiative in a sustainable and replicable way, so that other rural communities can learn how to use choral singing to come together and reconnect.

For more information go to the website www.voicesofcraven.org. Tickets can be purchased from www.giggleswick.org.uk/rwt/.

More information can be found on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/VoicesOfCraven/ or at https://twitter.com/voicesofcraven