Crimson Glory

05 October 2018

On Sunday 4 November 2018, St Edmundsbury Cathedral will present a unique event to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Crimson Glory tells the story of a young Suffolk soldier through music, drama, dance, art and video. It depicts the soldier’s life-journey from farming the fields of Suffolk to the battlefields of the Somme, all the time exploring his questions about Christian faith in the face of war.

350 performers will take to the stage for Crimson Glory. Joining the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Choir, the 100-voice Cantus Firmus Choir, (drawn from churches across Suffolk), Ex Silentio and No Girls Allowed choirs and Sixth Form Drama students (all from King Edward VI School), will be a massed children’s choir from eight Bury Schools Partnership primary schools. The singers will be accompanied by the Cantus Firmus Orchestra, and the children from six schools will also be performing additional drama and movement.

The vast project is being led and conducted by Richard Hubbard, the cathedral’s Music Development Director, working in partnership with Cantus Firmus Trust, and Woodbridge-based script-writer Neil Clayton. 

Masterminding the Bury Schools Partnership involvement has been Kate Brown, Lead CALSA for the Lark Teaching School Alliance (also Head of Visual Arts at King Edward VI School). CALSAs (Cultural & Arts Leaders in Schools and Academies) from across the Bury Schools Partnership have worked together to bring more than 1000 children to take part in the Crimson Glory project as a whole. As well as dancing, singing and acting, the children from 11 schools have created stunning artwork based on the centenary of the end of the Great War. This artwork will be available to view in the cathedral cloisters from 19 October. Clare Lamb from the Lark Teaching School Alliance saw the involvement of so many different learning communities from within our area of being of crucial significance to this project.

The music is wide-ranging, including movements from John Rutter’s Requiem, works by Vaughan Williams, Butterworth (who was killed in the Great War), Mendelssohn, Elgar, John Bell, and First World War popular songs, such as Pack Up Your Troubles and Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts for Soldiers. Thomas Hawkes, the cathedral’s Organ Scholar and King Edward VI School’s Musician in Residence, was commissioned to write an organ composition for inclusion in Crimson Glory which will be danced to by King Edward VI school dancers. 

Richard Hubbard, St Edmundsbury & Ipswich Music Development Director, said: “It is tremendously exciting to bring together so many art forms in the cathedral for this unique production, and to explore how Christian faith impacts people in times of crisis. Music and the creative arts speak where words alone are not enough, and we hope that Crimson Glory will remain in people’s memories for a long time.”

Kate Brown, Lead CALSA, said: “To have seen a project of this scale develop over time since the very earliest planning meetings has been truly incredible. The sheer number of children involved, along with the willingness of CALSAs and teachers from Bury Schools Partnership schools to give their time to the Crimson Story project, speak volumes about the place the centenary of the end of the Great War holds in our hearts. It has been a very special honour to see the project unfurl into what it is today.”

Jonathan Agar, Chief Executive Officer for Birketts, concluded: “Crimson Glory promises to be a spectacular occasion marking a poignant moment in the country’s history. It has been a hugely ambitious project and we are delighted to add our support to this incredibly moving production.”

  • Crimson Glory has been made possible due to the generous support of our sponsors: Birketts, Glasswells, Bury St Edmunds Town Council, St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Suffolk County Council, as well as individual donations. 


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