CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Bury Choral society still going strong after 175 years

PUBLISHED: 19:14 12 May 2013 | UPDATED: 19:15 24 April 2016

LAN May Bury Choir

LAN May Bury Choir

not Archant

The rhythmic clatter of a cotton mill at full pelt will resonate down the ages when Lancashire hosts a remarkable world premiere this month

It is 175 years since a group of people with a passion for song got together in the famous east Lancashire town of Bury to form what has become one of the country’s oldest choral societies.

Members have staged a series of events celebrating this anniversary but none will have been so eagerly anticipated as their performance of Cotton Mills, a work they have specially commissioned. Around 80 members will perform it in public for the first time at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester on May 12.

Choir member and barrister Andrea Keyser headed up a committee to commission this new work. ‘Having a unique work was the ambition of Sinead Hayes when she was appointed as our musical director,’ said Andrea. ‘We spent many hours trawling through books and the internet trying to find words that would work when set to music and would resonate with the choir and with this area.’

They discovered a poem called Cotton Mills by C. Richard Miles, a Yorkshire writer based in London. ‘A member of the commissioning committee had been in the cotton industry and agreed this had had a lot of rhythmic elements of that clatter you got in the mills. We felt it would work.’

Backed by grants from national charitable trusts and some local supporters, their next job was to find a composer and this involved a competition, mainly among people in the music departments of northern colleges. They nterviewed four with Zakiya Leeming, Australian born but based in Manchester, being selected. ‘We wanted this to be a two-way process - the choir and the composer working together. Zakiya understood this and she also understood the poem and its rhythmic quality.’ adds Andrea. The result is a piece that has the cadence of a mill with individual shuttles moving slightly in and out of time. It also reflects the mood as the industry grows, peaks and dies. ‘It’s a big challenge, but we wanted something that would stretch us,’ said Andrea. ‘Some love it, some hate it but most are growing to love it. Our conductor says it is very good and she should know.’

The society, made up of amateur singers from all walks of life, is more used to local halls and churches. ‘We are all looking forward to performing in a big venue.It is going to be a celebration of all we have achieved and the fact that we have been around for the last 175 years,’ says Andrea.

PHOTOGRAPHY: STEPHEN REDFERN

0 comments

More from Out & About

Yesterday, 00:00

Canicross is one of the fastest growing sports and it has arrived in the Lake District. Irene Rothery reports

Read more
Dogs Lake District Walks

Having 10,000 students on the doorstep is helping this West Lancashire town centre to thrive

Read more

In 1972, a hoard of ancient silver coins was discovered in Prestwich. These days, they’re hoping to strike gold with an unbeatable mix of community, creativity and independent shops but for one craftsperson, silver is still the way to go.

Read more
Friday, October 12, 2018

Pendle Hill is one of the most iconic landmarks in Lancashire and you can enjoy the beautiful countryside, spectacular views and fascinating from a number of starting points in the Ribble Valley.

Read more
Pendle Hill Ribble Valley Walks
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Our walks expert John Lenehan plots a scenic course that also provides a little Lancashire history.

Read more

Steps are being taken to bridge the divides that have grown between communities and made Blackburn one of the most segregated towns in the country.

Read more
Blackburn
Monday, October 8, 2018

With the countryside turning stunning shades of red and gold, this is probably the best time to pull on your boots and go for a heavenly hike.

Read more
Lake District Walks Autumn

There is always something surprising in this old Lancashire village which attracts visitors from across the world

Read more
Cartmel
Thursday, October 4, 2018

Many youngsters their age are content to play with their toys, but a Bowness brother and sister are happiest in their walking boots.

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Britain’s biggest independent flower show attracts huge crowds and the admiration of BBC celebrities

Read more
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

When it was announced The Willow Garden Project in Fleetwood was to be the recipient of BBC North West Garden created for The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Tatton Flower Show, there were cheers all round.

Read more
Friday, September 21, 2018

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Meet some of the devilishly successful people who make this glorious Ribble Valley town tick.

Read more
Clitheroe
Friday, September 14, 2018

The site was designated Lancashire’s first ever ‘Local Nature Reserve’ in 1968 and is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Read more
Lytham

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy



Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search