River Nene music project looking to source wonderful waterway images

The River Nene at Islip
The River Nene at Islip

Organisers of a project which will allow choirs to use music written about the River Nene have asked for people to send in their photos to illustrate a new songbook.

Nenescape Landscape Partnership Scheme has asked for photographs of the Nene Valley to illustrate the new music book produced in partnership with Northamptonshire Music and Performing Arts Trust (NMPAT).

Morris dancers beside the River Nene in Northampton

Morris dancers beside the River Nene in Northampton

Originally arranged for orchestra and choir, Higham Ferrers composer Benjamin Till has rearranged the piece into a 25-minute work of nine short sections for community choirs and singing groups to perform.

Nenescape’s Interpretation and Community Engagement Officer, Alison Brand-Barker, said: "It's a really exciting opportunity for us to get people singing and getting it out there to allow choirs and singing groups to experiment with it.

"The photos will be interspersed in the songbook alongside the nine different sections to illustrate the different parts of the River Nene."

Pictures can be old or new and should be of the landscape featured in the musical journey to the sea.

A photograph of Nunn Mills Power Station in 1962

A photograph of Nunn Mills Power Station in 1962

The piece of music, originally performed by over 1,500 local young people at the Royal Albert Hall, Derngate in Northampton and Peterborough Cathedral, follows the flow of the river downstream.

Starting at its source at Badby, near Daventry, the songs move downstream to Harpole, travelling on to Northampton’s Midsummer Meadow, the music evoking memories of swimming in the river near the Nunn Mills power station.

Travelling down, the river then meanders past Woodford and on to Fotheringhay, where Mary Queen of Scots wrote a poem while she was imprisoned in the castle.

Moving over the Northamptonshire border, The Nene Valley Railway, once the Northampton to Peterborough railway steams into view leading to Peterborough Cathedral - the site of a ghostly haunting.

The Flying Scotsman on the Nene Valley Railway

The Flying Scotsman on the Nene Valley Railway

The final piece of music celebrates Wisbech Institute’s bells, using poetry by John Clare.

Alison added: "We are particularly keen to see pictures of the river as a small stream, of local Morris dancing and we would be grateful for night-time images of Peterborough Cathedral and of the misty Fens.

"By May 2020 the free music will be ready and hopefully be distributed through libraries.

"We're really keen to hear from any choirs, who do perform the work, to send us video or sound clips of their performance."

The River Nene at Wisbech

The River Nene at Wisbech

Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Nenescape will be launching a songbook of sheet music about the River Nene.

The finished booklet will be available online and some printed copies will be distributed to community choirs and singing groups across the Nene Valley with full credit being given to the photographer or owner of images included

Photographs to be considered for use by Nenescape should be sent to alison@rnrp.org as attachments.

For more information visit the Nenescape website or contact Nenescape’s Interpretation and Community Engagement Officer, Alison Brand-Barker at alison@rnrp.org to find out more.