Wishing to further develop our Community involvement and collaborations, for HMD 2018 the team organised Chichester’s first performance of the Holocaust Opera ‘PUSH’ by composer Howard Moody in The Cathedral.
To make this happen we were joined by Colin Hicks and our two brilliant Creative Directors, Jill Hoskins and Kate Jones. We also formed the wonderful ‘PUSH ‘ Community choir of over 100 singers drawn from different local choirs. Our Children’s choir of 27 was formed from 4 different local schools, all children who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to participate in such an event. For all, it was their first encounter with opera and for most the first time they had ever performed on a professional stage.
They were joined by three outstanding student Soloists from the University of Chichester Conservatoire together with the University Orchestra. We were enormously privileged to also be joined that night by Simon Gronowski whose story PUSH tells. The previous evening Simon Gronowski gave a talk about his life to the people of Chichester in the Oxmarket gallery entitled ‘My life is only miracles’.
Once again The Cathedral performance was ‘sold out’ so we staged it again in the April of 2018 at St Paul’s Church. On this occasion, the Howard Moody’s own professional orchestra was conducted by Howard himself.
In the audience at the Cathedral performance was our Member of Parliament Gillian Keegan. Afterward Gillian and Clare arranged for PUSH to be performed in January 2019 at Speaker’s House in Westminster before an audience of Members of Parliament and Peers.
The community choir brought an honesty and sincerity to the workplace which was achieved through their hard work, love of the project, and deep affection for one another that grew steadily from the beginning of the project. It was a wonderful opportunity for people of all ages, from 8 to 80, to take on a new challenge, move and sing, celebrate our diversity and to diminish all fear about learning something new or unfamiliar. Although they started as separate groups and schools, by the time of the performance there was perfect cohesion between them. Their engagement served to reward them well in terms of knowledge, relationships, and how we experience the world, both physically and emotionally.
As a result, the Company remained together and began preparing for the 2019 performance in Speaker’s House, Westminster.
At the same time, back in Chichester Ralph organised a special screening once again with Walter Francisco at New Park of The Danish Solution and Forgotten Soldier-two amazing documentaries.