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Cambridge choir Tyrannochorus to commemorate the Armistice through music

The Tyrannochorus Choi being conducted by Siobhan Lihoreaur. Picture: David Bradley
The Tyrannochorus Choi being conducted by Siobhan Lihoreaur. Picture: David Bradley

As the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War draws nearer, a special concert is taking place at West Road Concert Hall On Friday, November 9.

Tyrannochorus. Picture: Emma May
Tyrannochorus. Picture: Emma May

Six Cambridgeshire choirs – along with the Saffron Walden Building Society Community Choir – will join together as ‘Tyrannochorus’ for West Road Remembers, a special concert that marks the end of one of the bloodiest conflicts the world has ever seen.

Add to the scene some pipers, drummers, schoolchildren’s poppy art, a singing serviceman and an all-female horn ensemble and you start to get a sense of how important this concert is to the groups involved – how much effort has put into remembering the people who sacrificed all in the Great War.

Cottenham resident Tim Lihoreau, who presents the breakfast show on Classic FM from Monday to Friday, helped put the concert together with his wife, Siobhan, who is also a primary school music teacher.

Both are heavily involved with numerous choirs – Tim as the rehearsal pianist and arranger and Siobhan as the director.

Tim Lihoreau
Tim Lihoreau

In order to properly mark the Armistace, the West Road Concert Hall has been booked for a couple of years now, and some of the performances were ‘road tested’ at a remembrance concert at Cottenham All Saints Church in 2016.

Tim, who is originally from Leeds, told the Cambridge Independent: “Remembrance is one of those things that’s always been on our map as an important thing to mark, and we did a concert in Cottenham in 2016.

“In the run-up to it, it suddenly dawned on me what the significance of the date in two years’ time would be. We thought we were probably behind the game in trying to book a big concert hall like West Road, but we tried and we found we could book the Friday.

“We thought we would come back to this theme, revisit some of the things we’ve done and maybe add some more – and we have.”

West Road Remembers concert poster
West Road Remembers concert poster

On the bill will be the Cambridgeshire Caledonian Pipe Band – performing on its own, with drummers and with the choir – and active serviceman Patrick Coughlan, a singer and musician currently serving as the regimental administrative warrant officer with the Cambridge University Officer Training Corps.

Patrick has previously served in tours of Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. There will also be Cor 8, an all-female horn ensemble made up of students from the Guildhall School of Music, the Royal College of Music, Trinity College and the Royal Academy of Music.

A special entry of note in the lineup is the world premiere of a composition of Tim’s, entitled The Song to the Unknown Warrior, based on the story of the fallen warrior buried in Westminster Abbey.

The words are written in cruciform and the piece contains a unique ‘unsung’ section, both aspects intended in tribute.

“The Tomb of the Unknown Warrior has always fascinated me,” Tim said. “It was this year that it all started coming out. I got the words right – I looked into the story and it all went into the words.

“Theres a couple of hidden tributes in there which people will see on the night, and there’s a moment of silence written into the piece. On paper the words look fairly normal, but I hid a cross in there.”

Tim feels that it is very important to keep memories of the First World War alive. “We wanted to do a concert that was more than just a concert,” he explained, “so we’ve tried to make it something bigger and be more ambitious with it.”

To decorate the foyer area of the hall, the children of Haslingfield Endowed Primary School have made mud-rock poppies. “Each child has made one, so I think they’ll be 180 poppies,” said Tim. “Their art teacher has been doing this with them for a while.” Also in the reception area will be a display on women writers during the war and two perspex ‘Tommies’, which have been taken to schools around the county, will have pride of place.

“The event should be more than just a choir concert,” concluded Tim. “There’s lots to see and the pipers and drummers alone should be quite a spectacle. We try and do interesting things and we wanted it to be ultimately uplifting.”

West Road Remembers, Friday, November 9 at 7pm at West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge.

Tickets £7. Box office: ticketsource.co.uk.


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