Halifax Minster prepares for summer festival of arts and music

Halifax Minster prepares for summer festival of arts and music
Halifax Minster prepares for summer festival of arts and music

Summer is set to go with a swing at Halifax Minster with an 11 day arts festival offering something for everyone.

Following on from the success of last year’s event, The Minster Summer Festival 2018 gets underway on Thursday, June 28 running until Sunday, July 9 – with many of the events free of charge.

It includes recitals, art exhibitions, poetry, music and even guided candlelight tours to ‘meet’ characters of the past and uncover some of the secrets of the ancient churchyard.

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It gets underway with a festival organ recital by Dr Simon Lindley and continues with a fascinating talk about the Halifax girl who became the playmate of ‘the lost prince’ – Prince John, hidden away from public view at Sandringham by the Royal Family.

The Minster will be open to the public from 10am to 4pm every day throughout the summer (unless a special event or service is taking place) and visitors are welcome to drop in as usual.

Other highlights of the festival include the annual Bearder Poetry Festival, the Senior Citizens Orchestra and Choral at the Minster; A Celebration of 200 Years of Choral Music. This is a rare opportunity to hear this amazing choir singing a varied programme.

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On Monday, July 2, ‘Sans Illuminaire’ will see people taking a candlelit tour of the building and ‘meeting’ living history characters who have helped shaped the town and its Minster. This will be accompanied by music from different eras.

Brass band fans will also be pleased to hear that Elland Silver Band, regular visitors to the Minster, will be returning to the stage to join North Halifax Grammar School Choir to perform the Saint Saens Organ Symphony.

One of Halifax’s most famous residents, Anne Lister will also be celebrated by local historian David Glover. Visitors can join David as he recounts the travels and adventures of the former mistress of Shibden Hall, a notable landowner, diarist and mountaineer, on Friday, July 6.

Sunday morning worship on July 1 will also be ‘live’ from the Minster thanks to a broadcast by BBC Radio 4. This will celebrate the Anglican Methodist Partnership, the publication of a new hymnbook containing Wesley hymns, and the bicentenary of Halifax Choral Society.

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All are welcome and the congregation is invited to be seated by 7.45am, ahead of the broadcast from 8.10am to 8.50am. The service will be led by the The Vicar of Halifax, The Revd Canon Hilary Barber with musical director, John Pryce Jones.

On Saturday, July 7, the sound of the shawm, the sackbut, the rebec and hurdy gurdy, plus early versions of the violin and guitar will fill the Minster courtesy of early music band The York Waits. There will also be bagpipes! Find out more from 7.30pm onwards.

Canon Barber said: “Once again, the Minster Festival launches a full packed programme of summer activities which makes full use of what the Minster can offer the town, and welcoming lots of visitors for both performing and visual arts.

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“This promises to be a fantastic festival offering something for everyone and all of it set against the dramatic backdrop of the Minster. We look forward to welcoming everyone.”

The Minster is also appealing for festival volunteers, who could help with serving refreshments, work as stewards or lend a hand with tidying the Minster at the end of one event and preparing for the next. Festival T-shirts, supplied and sponsored by Harvey’s of Halifax will be provided. Anyone interested should email admin@halifaxminster.org.uk

A full programme of Summer Festival events complete with times and ticket prices is available to pick up from the Minster.

For more information visit www.halifaxminster.org