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Monday 14 October – Monday 21 October 2019

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Festival news

Festival finale set for musical spectacular

A unique musical performance is being put together as part of this month’s festival, and will be premiered during the finale on Monday 24 October in the spectacular setting of the Church of St Mary in the Baum.


‘Volumes’, featuring poet extraordinaire Ian McMillan alongside his son, the award winning poet, Andrew McMillan and two local choirs, has been commissioned by the festival to bring a spectacular climax to the six day arts feast.  Acclaimed composer Michael Betteridge will direct the performance of two new poems which Ian and Andrew, collaborating on a project for the first time, have written especially for the festival and which Michael has set to music. The event will see father and son reading from their own work, plus the choirs performing Ian and Andrew’s choice of songs based on the works of other favourite poets.

Cantare are a Rochdale-based female voice choir, originally founded in 1982.  The Sunday Boys are a newly-formed inclusive male voice choir who rehearse on Canal Street, Manchester.  Both choirs are directed by Michael Betteridge.

Tickets for the evening called ‘Volumes’ (£13), which begins at 7pm, are on sale now

Michael specialises in collaborative music and community projects, and his previous imaginative endeavours include a choral piece for a car park in Peckham and a musical on the Manchester Metrolink!  He has worked for organizations including the London Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.  In 2013 he produced ‘Frozen Music’ an interactive musical event at Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival, working with Rochdale Music Service and local writers.

Councillor Janet Emsley, cabinet member for culture, health and wellbeing at Rochdale Borough Council, said:

“Michael’s work is superb, so combining his musical talents with two amazing poets and brilliant local choirs will, I am sure, make for an exceptional evening and a fabulous finale for our festival.  As those who were lucky enough to get a ticket to see Carol-Ann Duffy last year will know, the Church of St Mary in the Baum is a simply stunning venue, and I am very excited about this event which will definitely be one of this year’s highlights.”