Magna Cantata

by Gerry Lynch last modified 18 Feb, 2015 02:04 PM

800 local school children to take part in ambitious new musical

Over 800 primary and secondary children from across Dorset and Wiltshire will be taking part in a series of four ambitious musical performances in Salisbury Cathedral this July, thanks to a generous grant from the Magna Carta Trust’s 800th Anniversary Commemoration Committee.

The performances, which will feature songs and music that explore Magna Carta’s story and themes like Justice and Freedom, are part of the Cathedral’s 800th Anniversary celebrations. They will take place across four consecutive nights and involve over 200 different school children each night.

The children and their staff will work closely with a professional team to create the work: opera director and Magna Cantata artistic director, Ben Occhipinti, composer Philip Lawson and librettist Andrew Mackay brought together under the baton of Ian Wick, Director of Music and Chorister Tutor at Salisbury Cathedral School. There will be special workshops run in schools, teaching children about Magna Carta and how to create historically relevant costumes.

Said Sarah Rickett, Director of Learning and Outreach at Salisbury Cathedral: “The focus is on schools in Wiltshire and Dorset, but interest has already been expressed by schools even in Somerset as well, demonstrating the project’s appeal.

“One of its great strengths is that it is very easy to share with other places in the form of a score and words, and Salisbury Cathedral intends to actively do this.”

In the run up to the actual performances, the Cathedral’s team will support schools in their preparations, whilst older students will be given the opportunity to take part as soloists and band members.

Said Artistic Director, Ben Occhipiti “This is a hugely ambitious and exciting project that will use the children’s talents and ideas to explore an important topic both historically and from today’s perspective.

“It’s also an opportunity to encourage children to engage musically, which is something I feel very passionate about – and the idea that the score could reach beyond our immediate performances to schools across not just the UK but the world, is tremendously exciting.”

Magna Cantata will take place from July 7–10 in Salisbury Cathedral. Over 1600 parents and family members are expected to attend. Tickets are available via the Salisbury Cathedral website.

Sir Robert Worcester, Chairman of the Magna Carta 800th Anniversary Committee says ‘We are pleased to be able to support Salisbury Cathedral and many other organisations across the country as they use the 800th anniversary to educate and inspire both young people and adults about the importance and continuing relevance of Magna Carta”’.

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