What's on: Halifax Minster prepares for summer festival of arts and music

Summer may not have arrived weather-wise but a festival of music, art, poetry and tours is set to bring sunshine to Halifax Minster after an absence of three years.
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The popular Minster Summer Festival last took place in 2019 and then was paused due to the pandemic but it will once again get underway from Thursday, June 22, running until Sunday, July 2.

It launches at 1pm with an organ recital by popular international organist and conductor, Gordon Stewart. Gordon, who until recently was the organist at Huddersfield Town Hall and is regularly seen conducting BBC’s Songs of Praise, will entertain the audience with a mix of music, played on the Minster’s magnificent 1929 Harrison and Harrison organ.

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Two local musical organisations will then collaborate on the first night to bring the acoustics of the Minster alive with the sound of singing and brass. ‘Sing for Joy’ at 7.30pm, features Colne Valley Male Voice Choir and Elland Silver Band.

Halifax MinsterHalifax Minster
Halifax Minster

Canon Hilary Barber, Vicar of Halifax Minster said: “We are thrilled that after a three year absence, we are once again able to launch the Minster Festival, which features 10 days of incredible summer activities and events, which make full use of what the Minster can offer the town.

“The festival is the perfect opportunity for us to welcome lots of visitors for both performing and visual arts.

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

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Among highlights will be a summer long exhibition of watercolour paintings by local artist, Jane Austin.

Canon Hilary Barber, vicar of HalifaxCanon Hilary Barber, vicar of Halifax
Canon Hilary Barber, vicar of Halifax

Chill Night on Friday, June 23 will bring jazz, curry and real ale to the Minster with Mirfield Swing Band, supported by Rishworth School Swing Band, while ‘Sing Aloud’ on Saturday, June 24 will feature Halifax Choral Society in an evening of music for summer, including Songs of Courage by George Dyson, north country folk songs by Philip Wilby and the songs and sonnets of Shakespeare by George Shearing.

A tea dance, organised with the Helen O’Hara Dance School is aimed especially at older members of the community.

On Saturday, July 1, talented young musicians will take over the Minster to perform some of their favourite pieces with a collaboration between eland Silver Youth Band, North Halifax Grammar School and Bradshaw Primary School, and then on Sunday, July 2, the Festival Eucharist will be led by the Bishop of Huddersfield, Rev Canon Smitha Prasadam along with preacher Mark Russell, CEO of the Children’s Society.

The festival concludes with the opportunity for everyone to join the Minster choir and sing in a traditional service of Choral Evensong.

For more information visit halifaxminster.org.uk