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A ‘right royal evening’ in Yorkshire. A feast of John Rutter’s beautiful, uplifting music with Yor

Picture of John Rutter, conducting

Yorkshire Philharmonic Choir are delighted to present a Summer concert of the works of John Rutter in Wakefield Cathedral on the 15th June at 7.00 pm. John Rutter might almost be described as a royal composer, having written works for William and Kate’s wedding, and performed at Harry and Megan’s!

This concert is YPC’s annual event in support of the work of the Wakefield Hospice, an organisation which provides high quality specialist palliative care – and appropriate that an evening of such beautiful and spiritual works is supporting this important and highly valued local organisation.

The evening will open with Rutter’s lovely work for chorus and orchestra ‘The Gift of Life: Six Canticles of Creation’ written to mark his 70th birthday and first published in 2015. This is the opposite of a requiem which reflects on death, framed within the Catholic liturgy. ‘The Gift of Life’ is a free and unrestrained composition, celebrating life and the different facets of the miracle of creation.

After the interval, Rutter’s ‘Feel the Spirit: A cycle of Spirituals’ will set a new mood. Inspired by Afro-American Spirituals, this is a cycle of songs which are alternately buoyant, reflective, poignant and stirring – but always beautiful, exquisitely crafted, accessible and memorable.

‘Feel the Spirit’ was written especially for Melanie Marshall, the Mezzo-Soprano soloist for this concert in Wakefield Cathedral. Regarding his inspiration to write this work, Rutter says ‘The idea came from hearing this young singer’s solo interpretation of spirituals in her recitals……with her help I chose seven of our favourite spirituals and I wrote Feel the Spirit which received its premiere in June 2001 in Carnegie Hall, New York’.

Fortunate indeed is YPC and its audience to have Melanie for this concert as she is currently engaged in the West End, but has been given special permission to come to Wakefield to perform in this work with which she is so closely identified. A CD of YPC singing this work with Melanie as soloist is available from the choir website.

With conductor, Andrew Padmore and the accompaniment of the Amici Ensemble, a superb concert is guaranteed.

Rutter is probably the most popular choral composer of our age and his generation. His works are popular and have a modern feel – and he is particularly well known for his Christmas music. As Michael White, writing in the New York Times says, Rutter is ‘so identified with Christmas that he has all but earned a place with the kings and shepherds by the manger’.

And the man himself is coming to Wakefield on 28th September to lead a ‘Singing Day’. YPC are delighted to welcome him – and offer a warm welcome to anyone else who is interested in joining in with this master of song himself. Details and tickets are available on the choir website or

The London Evening Standard said of Rutter "For the infectiousness of his melodic invention and consummate craftsmanship, Rutter has few peers". Sue Lawley, broadcaster and one time presenter of Desert Island Discs referred to Rutter as "the most celebrated and successful composer of carols alive today”. What a marvellous opportunity to listen to his wonderful works, to support the Wakefield Hospice…….and for dessert, join YPC in its John Rutter Singing Day – and sing under the tutelage of this master of song.

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