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Church Music Festival To Be Televised

Organisers of this year’s International Church Music Festival in Coventry have secured coverage of the main concert on the BBC.

The flagship religious music programme, Songs of Praise, is to come to the city in June to film the Evening Gala Concert in Coventry Cathedral.

The concert starts at 7.30pm on 24 June and will be conducted by Sir David Willcocks, a former Director of the Royal College of Music who conducted massed choirs and trumpeters for the VE and VJ commemorations in London.

Also featured will be the Massed Festival choir, made up of choirs from around the world visiting Coventry for the four-day festival, and the English symphony Orchestra piano duo Stephen Nielsen and Ovid Young.

The BBC will be covering traditional hymns and selected music from the 90-minute concert, which includes works by Mozart and Handel and music such as the Coventry Litany written by local conductor Paul Leddington Wright for the festival’s 10th anniversary in 1994.

It is the first time that Songs of Praise has chosen to record the International Church Music Festival, which returns to Coventry for the 9th time this year.

The festival, which visits the city biannually, features more than 800 choral singers from across the world, over half are from the US, but choirs come from as far afield as India, Poland, Ghana and Bulgaria.

Festival co-ordinator Claire Monks said:

“The BBC has chosen to film the festival because it forms such an important part of the calendar year for church music.

“The gala concert is also very unusual in that it includes a massed choir of around 600 singers from around the world.”

The 34-minute programme will be screened on 16 July 16.

Tickets for the Gala Concert and the rest of the festival will go on sale in early May from the Cathedral Bookshop on 024 7625 1509, and Warwick and Leamington Festival Box Office on 01926 496277.
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CWN / Religion / Coventry Cathedral / 27 Apr 00

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