Sunday, 9 November 2008

The South Bank Show/Messiah (2)

Back in Yorkshire for the Messiah South Bank Show. Quite tricky this programme because I haven't yet got a clear idea of where it's going. There's nothing unusual in that and I enjoy the challenge. What I do know is that it will feature at least two choirs from West Yorkshire: Huddersfield Choral Society ('The Choral'), Keighley Vocal Union and, fingers crossed, the Sacred Wing, a gay and lesbian choir from Leeds. The latter is in some doubt because some of its members are reluctant to be on TV. I do hope they consent - I want to show how Handel's masterpiece speaks to everyone. We arrive on Friday evening and after a quick recce in Huddersfield's fine town hall , we make our way to Greenhead School where the Huddersfield Choral rehearse. What a sound they make. We film a good deal of the rehearsal that is taken by the excellent Joe Cullen. After the break we interview a small selection of chorus members - we picked the ones we thought gave the most illuminating answers to the questionnaire we sent out. It's good stuff - everyone we speak to has a different story about their experiences singing the Messiah. The next morning we're over in the Keighley area to film four couples who sing with the Keighley Vocal Union. The scenery contrasts nicely with Huddersfield. Everyone we meet greets us with tea and cake and charming reminiscences of singing Messiah. Lots of nice material but the next challenge is to develop this into a narrative that lasts 50'. Much to do.

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