A WINCHESTER choir is celebrating its centenary year with a special concert.

Winchester City Festival Choir (WCFC) will be celebrating its 100th anniversary on January 28 with a performance of Haydn’s Creation and a world premiere of a new work by Winchester composer Oliver Tarney, commissioned for the event.

The concert will take place in Harvey Hall at St Swithun’s School.

This will be WCFC’s first major concert under the baton of its new music director Paul du Plessis-Smith – a renowned counter-tenor soloist, lay-clerk in Winchester Cathedral choir, and a musical educator.

Three soloists will take on the roles of angels, Adam and Eve, accompanied by a 28-piece orchestra, made up of local, professional musicians.

On Wednesday January 4 accompanied by librettist Lucia Quinault, Oliver presented Paul with the final score and led a choir rehearsal. He identified points to work on in preparation for the concert and congratulated the choir on the quality of their singing.

Paul said: “I want WCFC to be the most welcoming choir in Winchester – embracing everyone who wants to sing the masterpieces of the classical choral repertoire and to be challenged by taking on new works by the finest contemporary composers.”

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Looking to the future, WCFC was keen to commission a new piece to celebrate its centenary. As well as being head of academic music and composition at Winchester College, Oliver’s works are widely performed at UK festivals, on Radio 3 and are published by Oxford University Press.

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Paul challenged him to make a piece to preface The Creation – but which could also stand alone for future performances. The result, In All the Earth (O Lord, Our Lord) is based on Psalm 8 as paraphrased and extended by Lucia Quinault.

Oliver said: “I was delighted to be asked to share in the celebration of Winchester City Festival Choir’s 100th anniversary and look forward to developing my links with this wonderful choir as it moves into its second century of music-making.”

Tickets for WCFC’s centenary concert cost £19.50, on sale now through the Winchester Theatre Royal box office theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/book/329803.