Turner Contemporary to mark First World War centenary with community choir performance

By Richard Moss | 06 September 2013

Performance: Lachrymose Community Choir, Turner Contemporary Margate, November 23 2013.

The ways in which museums and galleries are planning to commemorate the 2014 centenary of the beginning of the First World War are as varied as the venues themselves.

At Turner Contemporary, Margate's thriving new gallery space, a project is currently underway that offers a resolutely artistic and cultural response to the conflict while acknowledging the strong local community feeling for the importance remembering 1914-18.

Kent was Britain's busiest embarkation point for troops leaving for France and Belgium - and it's a legacy that has become increasingly important as the centenary approaches.

a new choral musical piece written for a community choir focuses on the local servicemen who never returned and whose names are recorded on the Margate War Memorial at Trinity Hill.

Overseen by producer Tania Holland-Williams, the project is being developed at the gallery through a series of interdisciplinary workshops and music-making activities which invite both musicians and non-musicians to come together to create, perform and experience music.

The unaccompanied choral work was written by composer Jon Hering. Lachrymose's suggestion of somber reflection and sadness draws on folksong and sea shanty, and despite sitting within the contemporary classical music genre, it is aimed at a range of abilities.

Singers do not need to be able to read music but will need to make a commitment to the project, including attending every rehearsal session and practicing outside rehearsals.

Hering, who describes music written just for the human voice as “powerful and honest”, says there is also “something powerful” about a large number of people coming together with a “common emotional subject”.

“I am really interested to discover what can be achieved by this temporary community, and how we will use our shared talents and experiences in the striking setting of Turner Contemporary," he adds.

Lachrymose, which can be heard in two performances at the gallery on the afternoon of November 23 2013, should provide a powerful and moving response to the changing landscape of remembrance that surrounds the First World War centenary.

  • To take part in the Lachrymose workshops throughout November contact Tania Holland-Williams at taniahollandwilliams@gmail.com by Friday October 4 2013.
  • For more on the First World Centenary and the partnership of museums, galleries, heritage sites and other organisations commemorating it visit www.1914.org.uk.

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