Olympic Legacy of Music and Song on Portland Isle

The summer of 2012 saw hundreds of arts events take place around the country as part of the Cultural Olympiad to celebrate the London Olympic Games. 

One such event in Dorset, home of Olympic sailing, was a special community concert titled ‘Water & Stone’, a joint venture between Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's Resonate education programme and Artsreach, the arts development agency for rural Dorset, performed by the BSO Resonate Strings and The Freedance Choir.

On Friday 8th March, 'Water and Stone' will be performed once more at St. George's Church on Portland,  following packed houses at previous performances at Durlston Castle and Powerstock Church in Dorset.

The five musicians who make up the BSO Resonate Strings each represent one of the five string sections of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, while The Freedance Choir is comprised of around forty performers from communities around the county. They will be joined by Jim Dvorak on trumpet, Jane Saunders on harp and Ben Stephens on percussion. Directed by Dorset musician and composer Sammy Hurden, this concert features original music from Jurassic Journey, a Cultural Olympiad project inspired by the coast, and from other sources, including compositions inspired by Portland itself. There will also be a range of memorable pieces for strings including music by Vivaldi, Holst and Karl Jenkins, as well as a choral piece by Stephen McNeff which he composed for community choirs in Dorset as part of the 2012 Chalk Legends project.

The concert at St George’s Church will also feature a special composition that Sammy was commissioned to write for her choir, thanks to a generous grant from Johnnie Boden. The piece, titled ‘The Hare & The Harp’ was inspired by a stone carving, believed to have been found in Powerstock, of a hare playing a harp, which now resides in Dorset County Museum. At its premiere last November in a sold-out concert in Powerstock Church it was greeted by a rapturous response from the audience.

Kim Thompson, CCT Volunteering Officer for Dorset, explained: “St George’s church, with its perfect acoustics and mysterious atmosphere, is the ideal venue for this exciting BSO and Artsreach production. The Churches Conservation Trust is enjoying working with our wonderful island volunteers and the ensemble musicians to stage this musical treat.”

Andrew Burn, Head of Education and Ensembles at BSO, added: “The previous Water & Stone concerts at Durlston Castle and in Powerstock were both brilliant events, and the BSO Resonate Strings are greatly looking forward to this final concert in the series, in another wonderful building, Portland’s superb St George’s Church. With its atmospheric setting and glorious acoustics it’s going to be a joy to perform in.”

The concert is promoted by Artsreach and the BSO in liaison with the Churches Conservation Trust, which is responsible for this beautiful historic building.

Venue: St George’s Church, Reforne, Portland. Fri 8th March at 8:00pm.

Tickets: £8, £6 U18s, £25 family of four. Tickets are available on Portland from Frances Sargents: 07977883187 or Cards & Celebrations, Easton Shopping Centre: 01305 822407. Alternatively contact Artsreach on 01305 269512.