Youngsters sing up to celebrate life of teen

Lorna MarshNorfolk will be hosting the world premiere of the latest work by internationally acclaimed composer Jonathan Dove . The premiere of There Was a Child will take place at St Andrew's Hall on May 2 as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival.Lorna Marsh

Norfolk will be hosting the world premiere of the latest work by internationally acclaimed composer Jonathan Dove after the first rehearsals involving local school children took place at the weekend.

The United Reform Church in Norwich was the venue for the rehearsal of There Was a Child, written by Mr Dove at the request of a close friend to celebrate the life of her son, who drowned when he was 19.

Saturday saw children from Norwich's Hewett School choir and Broadland Youth Choir rehearse with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Norfolk and Norwich Festival chorus and children's choir, all conducted by David Parry.

It was the first opportunity for all those involved to rehearse together. Before they had only been able to run through their pieces separately.

Abby Ames, 11, from Hewett School, said: 'We have learned a lot and it has been fun. I'm quite excited about being part of it but it's also scary.'

Mary Donegan, 13, also at the school, said: 'Some of the singing is hard but it's something different and it is exciting.'

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The premiere, which will take place at St Andrew's Hall on May 2, is co-commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and forms part of the festival.

Mr Dove told the EDP that the work was more ambitious than most because of the personal link.

He said: 'It's complicated because this piece is for her to celebrate his life, she did not want a requiem, and I wanted to try and capture in music the positivity of his life.'

Mr Dove took his inspiration from various poems about childhood and also about the sense of grief when someone loses a child.

Mr Parry said conducting young school choir singers was a different experience to professionals. 'I think they are more enthusiastic,' he said.

'They sometimes have to work harder to hit the notes so there is more effort that has gone into it.'

t The performance will be on Saturday May 2 at 7.30pm at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich. Call 01603 766400 or visit www.nnfestival.org.uk