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Debut show for song cycle choir

By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Debut show for song cycle choir

A PIONEERING song cycle focused on the region’s landscape and community is to receive its world premier later this month.

Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival commissioned Moniaive’s Cairn Chorus, and the resulting work will be performed at St Ninian’s Parish Church in Moniaive on May 27.
Choir director and music teacher Kate Howard moved back home from Devon to Scotland three years ago, and said: “The theme is our connection to the landscape of Dumfries and Galloway and its ever-changing communities: what our landscape means to the community, what community means to us and how changes within a rural community affect us.”
Explaining the Cairn Valley Song Cycle touches on issues such as the Lowland Clearances, Kate added: “Since rehearsals began I have been moved and also excited about the way the song cycle is coming together. It’s a really fascinating project.”
Kate was part of the Moniaive Festival Village team that put a bid in for a Creative Places Award.
They won the bid and the beginnings of a song cycle project for the Glencairn Valley was born.
Last year Kate put out a call for composers to join the project.
And she said: “I was approached by ten different people, all of whom happened to be women.
“Some were established composers, some completely new to composing, but all of them were local and all of them had something unique to say.”
The project also involves the talents of Galloway song-writer Ali Burns, Kate Thomas, Lucy Harper, Megan Henderson, Melanie Thorne, Wendy Stewart and Helen Chadwick.
Local musician and composer Stuart MacPherson has provided instrumentalist pieces to complement the project, and the song cycle will include bell ringers and an art installation in the village by Florencia García Chafuén.
After its premiere in Moniaive, and as part of the Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, the Cairn Valley Song Cycle will be performed in a special concert with the Cairn Chorus and the Scottish Ensemble on Saturday June 3 at the Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries.


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