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Sunday, 1 April 2012

New choral work to mark opening of community hall

Town Hall

The opening this summer of the Waterfront Hall, a new public hall and venue in the Yorkshire Pennine town of Hebden Bridge, will be marked by the first performance of a new choral work.

Composer Alison West has been commissioned by Hebden Bridge Community Association to write And So we Built, which will be performed during the opening ceremony on Saturday 23rd June. The ceremony marks the completion of a £3.4m capital development to provide major new facilities adjacent to the town's landmark Victorian Town Hall. Hebden Bridge is one of the first towns in Britain where the Town Hall is owned and managed directly by the community, following a pioneering asset transfer in 2010 from Calderdale council to the Community Association.

Alison West has performed as a musician for over 30 years. She is joint musical director of the Hepton Singers, a long-established chamber choir based in Hebden Bridge, and also directs the musical ensemble Alyssium. She has been composing a cappella choral music since 2006, most notably in two major collaborations with the prizewinning poet Donald Atkinson: Rehearsing the Languages of Birds and Afresh, Seven Times. Recent work has included From the Parsonage, a setting of three poems by Amanda Dalton about the Bronte sisters, and Sea Songs, settings of three poems by Emily Dickinson.

The performance of And So we Built at the opening of the Waterfront Hall will bring together members of Hepton Singers, Alyssium, the community choir Calder Valley Voices as well as singers from other local choirs. The premiere of the work will form one of the highlights of the event.

Alison West says: "I was delighted to be approached by Hebden Bridge Community Association and asked to undertake this commission for their opening event. It is always encouraging when community organisations want to support the creation of new music, and I'm very pleased that so many singers in the area are coming together to make the first performance really special."

Peter Hirst, chair of Hebden Bridge Community Association says: "Hebden Bridge is a musical community, and when planning the opening of the Waterfront Hall we wanted to include something appropriate to mark the occasion. We've been impressed by Alison West's previous choral works and have been pleased to be able to collaborate with her on this new work."

And So we Built uses words by the Hebden Bridge-based writer Andrew Bibby, who is also active in the work of the Community Association. His lyrics offer a meditation on the human urge to build.



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Calderdale Council give 125 year lease for Town Hall (26 October 2010)

HebWeb Forum discussion

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Public consultation on Town Hall plans (May 2010)

Hebden Bridge Town Hall passes into Community Ownership (March 2010)

Association seeks Treasurer to take on Town Hall role (2 March 2010)

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HebWeb News: New Charity created to manage Town Hall (Jan 2009)

HebWeb News: Government gives thumbs up to Hebden Bridge Town Hall plans (July 2008)

HebWeb News: Plans to put Town Hall once again at the heart of local life (October 2007)

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