City to be alight with music and dance

Mark Langley, director of Alight Twilight show at the City Hall in March
Mark Langley, director of Alight Twilight show at the City Hall in March

A SUCCESSFUL outcome to the bid for Arts Council funding to support Sheffield’s Music Nation event Alight as part next year’s Cultural Olympiad means the city will indeed be alight on March 3.

As she fielded a host of congratulatory messages, Rachel Mallaband, Alight co-ordinator who chased the bid for £9,500 by phone last Friday, said: “There are various, standard conditions attached and I haven’t seen any formal paperwork as yet.”

The festival, a full day of music, dance and visual arts, draws together a wide range of performers from children singing and dancing, to choirs and music groups like BeVox, OutAloud, Bleat Beat and Babel Songs.

Events will take place at various venues in the city, among them the Winter Garden, the Town Hall, City Hall, Victoria Hall and The Hubs.

A daytime plethora of community events in ‘festival’ style from noon includes Sheffield City Giants performing music and dance using the two 20-foot Catalans-style giants at the Town Hall.

Weston Park Museum will witness members of Sheffield Music Academy augmenting Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals with some their own, such as “Arctic Monkeys,” and a puppet show aimed at primary school children being developed by students at Sheffield Hallam University.

And Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, administering the day, give the premiere of one of two works specially commissioned for the day, Yaron Hollander’s Everyone Sang, at an off the beaten track concert of music.

The second commission, “based around a three-word theme Unite – Arise – Alight,” according to its composer Timothy Allen, is premiered at what promises to be a spectacular show in the evening at the City Hall with around 600 performers and projected backdrop images.

The show, in the process of being written, will be directed by Mark Langley and takes the form of a history of Sheffield since it was designated a city in 1893.

Among the performers are Sheffield Music Academy students, Inyourface, Sheffield’s two university big bands, Sheffield Music Service Intermediate Orchestra with the Philharmonic Chorus, Concord Youth Music Ceremonial Fanfare Team, Sheffield Cathedral Choir, BeVox (featuring prominent pop songs by local bands), Endcliffe Orchestra, Concord Youth Music and Sheffield City Opera.

The day continues after and eventually ends at The Hubs where Sheffield Hallam University students, as part of an undergraduate Events degree course, present the ‘best of the best’ bands from a pre-Alight audition day.

Alight is Yorkshire’s Cultural Olympiad project for Music Nation, a BBC/ LOCOG (London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games) countdown event for the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad.

Bernard Lee