The Wellingborough Singers are delighted to return to the United Reformed Church (commonly known as the Pork Pie church, due to its distinctive shape) to perform one of the classics of choral music – Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. Seating for this concert is entirely unreserved (doors open at 7:00pm), but all seats have a good view, the acoustics are excellent, and all the pews have excellent cushions!
If you’re a child of the 1970s, it may well have been the Old Spice advert. If you hail from a younger generation, it will almost certainly be The X Factor. Or maybe you remember its regular comical use in Only Fools and Horses. Perhaps you even know it as the accompaniment to which Gillingham Football club players run onto the pitch at home games at the Priestfield stadium. One thing’s for sure, though: the vast majority of people who know and love the famous “O Fortuna” that opens Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana have first come across it not through a performance of the work, but via its use in countless television shows, commercials and films.
At less than three minutes, “O Fortuna” is only one very small part of this mammoth cantata. Orff was at pains to point out the non-religious nature of the work in its title: Carmina Burana is subtitled “Cantiones profanæ cantoribus et choris cantandæ comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis”, translating as “secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magic images”.
Composed in the 1930s and inspired by a set of medieval poems, Carmina Burana was first performed in Frankfurt in June 1937, to great acclaim. Orff knew he had a hit on his hands, and he was fortunate enough to see the work’s rapid rise in popularity during the course of his own lifetime. Whilst it is often performed with large orchestra, Orff recognised the potential of an accompaniment of two pianos and no fewer than six percussionists, and it is in this version we perform the work.
We are delighted to welcome back former Musical Director Ian Runnells alongside our own répétiteur Steve Garfirth as our two pianists, and indeed to the Keith Crompton Percussion Ensemble. Local soloists Jessica Smith (an aluma of The Sixteen’s Genesis project), Robert Tilson (graduate of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), and Reuben Willcox (graduate of the Julliard School in New York) complete the line up.
CAR PARKING and ACCESSIBILITY
Just opposite the church is Jackson’s Lane Car Park which is free of charge and has over 150 parking spaces. If you have mobility needs please get in touch with us and we will endeavour to organise parking right by the church on either Queen Street or Salem Lane. The church is fully wheelchair accessible, and the church was designed with excellent sight lines in mind.