Vocal Festival will fill Durham with song once again

Durham Vocal Festival is set to return for a third year, promising world famous artists, thousands of performers and two world premieres.

The festival, organised by Durham County Council’s Durham Music Service, will celebrate music and song as it brings together over 3,000 local children with some of the country’s leading singers and orchestras.

Taking place at various venues across the city, events run from Saturday 26 January to Saturday 9 February.

Cllr Olwynn Gunn, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for Children and Young People’s Services, said: “I’m so please that the Vocal Festival is returning. Last year, thousands of people participated, including over 2,400 school pupils. This year is set to be even bigger and more exciting than ever, with even more participants, and local and national talent filling Durham with song.”

Cllr Ossie Johnson, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for tourism, culture, leisure and rural issues, said: “The festival is a real musical masterpiece, bringing together all ages to celebrate the rich history of vocal music. I look forward to seeing what this year has to bring and hearing some fantastic performances here in Durham.”

Festival director Michael Summers, manager of Durham Music Service, said: “This year’s festival promises to be bigger than ever, as we host some world class talent and showcase local voices.

“The festival opens with an impressive performance from the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Durham Choral Society presenting the wonderful Handel’s Messiah at Durham Cathedral on Saturday 26 January.”

Performances from the world famous VOCES8, Community Choirs, the north east’s  inaugural Workplace Choir of the Year Competition, and the hugely popular Acapella Evening with Northern Lights will take place throughout the week, concluding with North East Festival of Youth Choirs on Sunday 9 February.

There will also be two exciting world premieres, starting with Dunelm Lux Aeterna (Durham Light Eternal), commissioned especially by the festival and written by five local schools alongside international composer and musical director Paul Smith.

A brand new work by the composer Solfa Carlile, commissioned by Cantata Dramatica, titled Life of St Cuthbert, will premiere in Durham Cathedral featuring Durham University Chamber Choir and guests, conducted by James Burton. The work is part of a musical pilgrimage starting on Lindisfarne on Sunday 3 February, visiting schools in Northumberland and Durham, culminating at Durham Cathedral.