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Community choirs to perform Tippett’s A Child of Our Time

Hundreds of members of community choirs from Lambeth and Southwark will perform at a concert of works by Michael Tippett and Gustav Holst - both former directors of music at Morley College - at the Royal Festival Hall this summer.

Tickets are now on sale for the concert on Saturday 29 June which brings together community choirs from across Lambeth and Southwark culminating in a performance of Michael Tippett's pacifist oratorio A Child of Our Time.

An initiative of Morley College, and featuring community singers alongside members of the BBC Singers and London Philharmonic Orchestra, this 300-strong Royal Festival Hall performance is part of Southbank Centre's Nucleo weekend, which will see the site transformed into a community centre for music-making.

Nucleo is one of several themed weekends during Southbank Centre's summer-long Festival of Neighbourhood.

A Choir of Our Time has forged links between eight established community choirs and sets up a brand new choir which rehearses in Kennington.

The singing of A Child of Our Time will be led by the BBC Singers and Morley Chamber Choir, with soloists Olivia Robinson, Rebecca Lodge, Edward Goater and Edward Price.

Other participating choirs from across Lambeth and Southwark include the Bermondsey Gospel Choir, Clapham Community Choir, Kennington Community Choir, Koruso!, The Local Vocals, London Sings!, Morley Voices, the Waterloo-based Oasis community choir and Voicelab.

Sir Michael Tippett was director of music at Morley from 1940, with his position kept open for him while he was interned as a conscientious objector to the Second World War.

Composed in response to the anti-Jewish events surrounding 'Kristallnacht', A Child of Our Time is Tippett's universal message of tolerance. "Lift up your Hearts, Lay down your Weapons" was the concluding line of his 'artist's vision of creative peace', published in 1944 as this work premiered.

A Choir of Our Time is a joint initiative of the music and community learning departments at Morley College, supported by an award from the Skills Funding Agency. The concert is presented in partnership with Southbank Centre and the BBC Singers, and also includes music from The Planets.

The suite's composer Gustav Holst was another of Morley's distinguished directors of music in the 1920s and 1930s.

"I am thrilled to be leading A Choir of Our Time, bringing a community together through the pure joy of singing. It is an honour for me to follow in Michael Tippett's shoes as director of music at Morley and to conduct this seminal piece," said Andrea Brown.

"I hope that A Choir of Our Time will be a fitting tribute to Tippett and his passion for community, humanism and peace."

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