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Setting out on 'The Voyage'

01 February 2016

Age UK Oxfordshire commissions new choral work by Bob Chilcott as part of a drive to tackle loneliness

On Friday March 18 at 19.30 in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, young and older singers will together perform an inspiring new work exploring life and loneliness across the generations.  ‘The Voyage’, a full-length choral work by the Cotswold-based world-renowned composer Bob Chilcott, will be performed by three choirs of mixed ages and experience and by talented young instrumentalists. The first half will feature the world première of a percussion concerto by John Traill and  a selection of pieces from local chamber choir Choros, led by Janet Lincé. The EastEnders star Pam St Clement (“Pat Butcher”), who talked of her loneliness in childhood in her book The End of an Earring, will compère the evening.


This unique event is the culmination of a commission by Age UK Oxfordshire as part of our work with the Campaign to End Loneliness, supported by the Arts Council England and charitable trusts. Bob Chilcott’s piece offers evocative music which all can access and enjoy, at whatever age or stage of singing ability. ‘Setting Sail’, the first movement of 'The Voyage', was previewed in a live performance on BBC Radio 3 on June 5 2015 at BBC Maida Vale studios with the BBC Symphony Orchestra Chorus and community choirs as part of the BBC’s ‘Music Day’ in a concert on the theme of intergenerational music-making.


Alongside the rehearsals and performances, Age UK Oxfordshire is leading outreach work to combat loneliness in the community, with both older and younger people. Projects include a befriending scheme linking students with older people, new singing groups across the county, including some for people who have had a stroke or who have dementia, and an intergenerational creative writing publication which charts people’s experiences of finding a way through tough times.


Proceeds from the concert will support the our telephone befriending service ‘Phone Friends’ through which volunteers make over 1,000 calls a month to the most isolated and housebound. 


Paul Cann, Chief Executive at Age UK Oxfordshire, said, “I wanted to find a new way of telling the old story of loneliness, through poetry and music.  I am thrilled that older people are joining forces with the young talents of Oxfordshire singers and instrumentalists to perform this lovely new work.  I am inspired by the energy and generosity of the University Hub students who are getting behind our voyage with some wonderful new ideas.” 


Tickets are now on sale and are available to book online on The Voyage website or by contacting the project on 07766 103427.



Performances of The Voyage take place as follows:

Friday 18 March 2016, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford
Instrumentalists from Oxfordshire County Youth Orchestra with Joint Venture Percussion Duo
Choros (Janet Lincé)
Oxfordshire County Youth Choir (Jon Cox)
The Voyage Choir (Emily Marshall)
Conducted by Bob Chilcott

Saturday 19 March 2016, Reading Concert Hall
Reading Phoenix Choir (David Crown)
Berkshire Youth Choir (Chris Hann)
BBC Berkshire Community Choir (Dorian Edwards)
Berkshire Maestros Academy Chamber Ensemble
Conducted by Bob Chilcott