A newly-formed community choir will take its first steps in public performance at the Hester’s Way Christmas lights switch-on ceremony on 14th December in Coronation Square, Cheltenham West.
But in just seven months’ time the same group will perform in the finale of the 75th Cheltenham Music Festival on Sunday 14 July 2019 in Cheltenham Town Hall. They will form part of the Opera Chorus for Cheltenham Music Festival’s Community Opera performing alongside school choirs, professional singers and instrumentalists, and young players from the Gloucestershire Academy of Music’s Inspire Ensemble.
The Community Opera has been awarded funding from the Big Lottery and the Foyle Foundation to tell the stories of people who live and work in Cheltenham West (known informally as Hester’s Way). It is the culmination of a cross-arts, intergenerational project over four years which has been planned in consultation with groups and individuals who live and work there. It will build on the work of two previous projects in the community – a song-writing piece (Going for a Song, performed at the 2015 Cheltenham Music Festival) and a storytelling piece (A Way With Words, performed in Hester’s Way as part of Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2016).
This long-term project is part of Cheltenham Festivals’ commitment to making the Festivals more accessible to people whose opportunities to engage with local arts and cultural activities are limited.