Museums at Night Report: Zusammen Choir Procession, Rochdale, May 17 2013
Rochdale Pioneers Museum and Touchstones Rochdale were delighted to win artist Susan Forsyth in Culture24’s Connect10 competition. But how could they make the most of her presence in Rochdale?
Forsyth’s creative idea was a drop-in Zusammen Choir Procession between heritage sites around Rochdale, involving local brass bands and musicians along with members of the public all singing popular songs together.
Arriving outside St Chad’s Church, local schoolchildren proudly held a banner aloft while Forsyth presented medals to everyone participating – even the police community support officers manning the rolling road closures.
Rochdale Sixth Form College music students performed their first professional musical engagement, singing folk songs accompanied by guitars, and local singer-songwriter Geoff Alexander led the crowd in a rendition of his affectionate song I’m Going Back to Rochdale.
The older singers in the procession sang along to Gracie Fields’ If I Knew You Were Coming I’d Have Baked a Cake, while the children had practiced Magic Penny and S Club 7’s Reach for the Stars, which saw a forest of hands flung cheerily into the air and the local rugby team mascot dancing along.
The procession moved through the beautifully well-kept Broadfield Park from the bandstand past the pond. “I’ve lived here all my life, but I’ve never come to this park before,” admitted one local.
Littleborough Brass Band and Rochdale Youth Brass Band kept spirits high as the 200-strong crowd continued past the war memorial and through the town centre, gathering footballers, dog-walkers and curious families en route.
As the singing came to a close outside the Pioneers Museum, the band cheekily launched into The Final Countdown and everyone was welcomed into nearby historic church St Mary in the Baum for tea and biscuits.