The piece is called Canary Songs and draws inspiration from the women who worked during WW1 in UK munitions factories. The name Canary Girls was a nickname given to these munitions workers because the woman’s skin and hair turned yellow from the TNT, which they packed into shells. The work was difficult and hazardous, as a result it meant that many woman suffered from TNT poison after working 12 hr shifts in very tough conditions.
Close to Leicester lies the grounds on which the Chilwell Shelling Factory existed. Chilwell was the largest and most successful of the shelling factories in the UK. Employing thousands of people, the factory provided most of the shells for the Battle of Somme, Belgium. In the summer of 1918 a massive explosion took place in the factory, killing 132 people (some accounts note 134), 25 of whom were women.
This explosion was the largest single event of its kind during WW1, killing more people in one moment than in any other situation, including those on the battlefield. Drawing on archival material, a sound reenactment of the factory will be acoustically created. This background track will be an acoustic interpretation of the factory and how it sounded on a daily basis. The track will be played in surround sound in the cinema space, over which a choir of 25 women will sing.
Rehearsals and creating the performance together
We will prepare a score for the rehearsals, which will be taught to all. No previous professional or singing experience is needed but naturally, those who have such backgrounds are most welcome. Rehearsals will include an explanation of the work, a short warm up and several runs of the score. The performance is anticipated to last no longer than 45 mins, so rehearsals will focus on working through this performance period. We will create a purpose designed score, which can be taught to all (without the need for reading music) and include a mix of vocalisation techniques, song, rhythm, harmony and discord.
This call is open to people who are interested in exploring singing techniques within a group setting, with a professional artist and choir director. Participants should be comfortable with working in a quick and cheerful manner and happy to publicly perform the works on the 23rd and 24th April. For the performance, signers will wear a specially designed loose cape, which will sits over the head and hangs over the body.
Participation in the choir is voluntary. All performers will be credited. Sound, video and image recordings will be recorded during the performance dates.
If you are interested in taking part, you need to need to be available for ALL rehearsals and performances.
Registration: please send your name, email and contact numbers to: Chris Tyrer at Phoenix before Tue 29th March, 2015.