The Manchester Chorale was founded and funded by the BBC in 1979, but since the late 1980s has been totally independent. It has always aimed to achieve high standards, reflected in competition successes at Sligo, Worcester and Bangor (NI); and it has become one of the best-known names in the Sainsbury's Choir of the Year Competition, with regular televised appearances in the final stages of the competition.
In addition to Choir of the Year, over the years the Chorale has made a number of other diverse television appearances. These include providing a chorus of Elvis Presley songs for a Granada TV game show and a church choir for an episode of the BBC's comedy Common as Muck. In 2001 it was the chosen choir for a special edition of BBC1's Songs of Praise, and in 2003 the Chorale was invited to sing Mozart's Coronation Mass in Faro, Portugal as the guests of the Orquestra do Algarve. Other highlights include tours to Norway, France and Germany, and performances supporting Wilhelmena Fernandez and José Carreras; but for many members the most memorable performance of all came in September 1995 at the (then new) Manchester Arena in front of 15,000 people, supporting Luciano Pavarotti.
Jill Henderson-Wild was appointed Musical Director of the Chorale in 2006.
Poet, writer and performer Ian McMillan is known nationally as a pundit on Newsnight Review, as English National Opera’s poet-in-residence and as the approachable and fanatical presenter of BBC radio 3’s highly popular spoken word program The Verb. Having lived in Barnsley since his birth in 1956, McMillan writes weekly columns in the Yorkshire Post and the Barnsley Chronicle and is poet-in-residence of such local community pillars as Barnsley Football Club, Northern Spirit Trains and the Humberside Police.
Equal parts performer and writer, McMillan is no stranger to the stage, and since his debut as the teenage drummer in the folk-rock band Oscar the Frog has given live performances all over the country as a solo artist, as a member of The Circus of Poets, and more recently with the Ian McMillan Orchestra, who’s album Homing In is now available on Taith Records. Described by Carol Ann Duffy as ‘one of today’s greatest performers’, McMillan is renowned for his astute observations of everyday life, which are every bit as humorous as they are insightful.
The Black Dyke Band is a regional brass ensemble that emerged from the mill town of Queensbury just outside of Bradford in the early 1800’s. Most of its early members both lived in Queensbury and worked at the Black Dyke Mill from which the band takes its name, so a close link between the band and the community was formed which remains to this day. The Band has always been at the forefront of Brass Band activity, making one of the earliest Brass Band recordings in 1904
Since then The Band has made over 350 recordings which have featured creative contributions from the likes of former Prime Minister Edward Heath and Paul McCartney and Wings. The band has won the nation brass band championships 22 times in total and the European Champions eleven times. In September 2005 the band were awarded first prize at the British Open Championship in Birmingham.
The Band is proud to be the first ever ‘Band in Residence’ at the Royal Northern College of Music, where it works closely with up and coming performers and composers to encourage new compositions and concerts.
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Black Dyke Band
Ian McMillan, narrator
The Manchester Chorale
Composer Luke Carver Goss was commissioned by the award-winning Black Dyke Band to write a piece which uses the structure of a relay race. Pure Gold: a 4x4 Relay Race is divided into four three minute 'legs' - power, speed, losing ground and finally, triumph - and tells the tale of success through team work and sporting pride with poet Ian McMillan and The Manchester Chorale.
20 outstanding new works, each lasting 12 minutes, commissioned to feature centre stage of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad. New Music 20x12 is a UK-wide commissioning programme consisting of twenty new pieces of music, each of 12 minutes in length, celebrating the talent and imagination of the UK’s musical community as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
Over the next 12 months you will be able to enjoy performances of these 20 new works in a wide range of venues and unexpected locations across the length and breadth of the UK – from churches, arts centres and concert halls to public spaces, festivals and a train journey. Each piece will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and available to purchase as mp3/FLAC download from NMC.
Visit our New Music 20x12 Project Page for more information about the twenty works.
‘Ian McMillan carries the day…’ BBC Music Magazine
Produced in association with BBC Radio 3
This performance of Pure Gold: a 4x4 Relay Race by the Black Dyke Band was on the 27January at the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester. The performance was recorded for broadcast on Radio 3 on the 21 April.