Kirkgate Carol – SATB
A new and original Christmas SATB piece
A thrilling arrangement that will be a real centrepiece for your concert. An original Christmas SATB piece, it starts with the peel of the bells and joyful Christmas message. However, we have moment of reflection which addresses the poverty in the city that they ring throughout and the divide between the rich and poor. As you can imagine, the melody is darker and more dramatic at this point. The mood then lightens as we ring the praises of the Rowntree family for the changes they made to the world. Written with the right amount of flair and a conclusion that will leave you breathless.
More about the Rowntree Family and the origins of the piece
I was a student in York in the 1960s. When I arrived, the west of the Minster was completely covered in scaffolding for restoration work. Almost three years later, and just before I left the city, the final piece of scaffolding was removed, and the minster bells rang out over the Vale of York in celebration. After three years I was delighted to see this wonderful building free again and that sound of bells has stayed with me to this day. For me, it was the most natural way to start this carol.
During my three years I was struck on many occations by the generosity of the Rowntree family and foundation. I read about the work of Joseph’s son, Seebohm Rowntree, and realised how much a part he played in reducing poverty not only in York, but throughout the country. His detailed research “Poverty, A Study of Town Life” starkly illustrated the plight of the poor people of York, where 28% of the population lived in absolute poverty through no fault of their own. By showing the country the reasons for that poverty he played a very significant part in changing attitudes, especially where it really counted, in Parliament.
In an original Christmas SATB piece, this carol pays tribute to the Rowntree family and others like them, without whom the country would be significantly poorer. I thank the York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir for making it possible.
See more about the Rowntree Family here