IN THE FIELD in 2015 was Wadhurst Culture’s largest project to date. May 2015 was the
centenary of the Battle of Aubers Ridge in which 25 young men from the village
were killed in a single morning. In order to commemorate this event, we
commissioned Artmusic to carry out the project:
• 4 “Field Day” weekend workshops, through which a “Field Choir” was
developed – including all ages from primary school children people in their 80’s.
There were also speakers on related themes, opportunities to experiment with
vintage photography, collection of sounds and memories, and the planting of
white tulips which formed a setting for the final concert and installation.
• Commission of a new work by Helen Ottaway of Artmusic
• A sell out concert of entirely English music with strong links to Sussex,
incorporating the world premier of Helen Ottaway’s A Field In May, settings by
Helen of songs written by Primary School pupils, the world premiere of Stuart
Fifield’s Aubers Ridge, A Concert March, and performances by the Field Choir,
the Wadhurst Bellringers, the Brass Band and the handbell ringers, supported
by the Bernardi String Quartet and conducted by Howard Moody.
• A month-long sound installation in the village church, with music from the
concert, and voices and sound recordings both from the village and from our
twin town of Aubers. 1300 people visited the installation, and it was stewarded
by a group volunteers who helped with interpretation.
It was a fantastic achievement for us to involve so many people, of all ages, raising over £50,000 to deliver the project.
In a relatively short period of time, we have established ourselves in the village,
and people now understand better the benefits that a collaborative approach can bring.