MEMBERS of the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus have been busy preparing for a special performance. They are taking part in the Windrush 70th anniversary celebrations on Friday 22 June at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal.
The ROH Thurrock Community Chorus will sing a piece called I Arrive. It features opera choruses from three very well known operas: Fuoco di Gioia from Otello and Chorus of the Scottish Refugees from Macbeth, both written by Verdi and the Prisoners’ Chorus, from Beethoven’s Fidelio. These three pieces weave together to create a story of arrival in a new and strange place.
The work is inspired by the arrival of the 492 Caribbean migrants onboard the Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks on June 22 1948. It explores the journey of all migrants and the difficulties that they face on the journey and in a new land. Through conversations with the ROH Thurrock Community Chorus and with members of the Windrush Generation in Brent, 492 words were selected, representing their feelings and experiences of migration. 75 of these words have been included in I Arrive and placed alongside the emotive music of Verdi and Beethoven and the music of Lord Kitchener, who travelled from Trinidad on the Empire Windrush.
Alongside the musical work, members of Kite Spirit textile group will be displaying a textile maypole they have created, on which they will eventually hang 492 words inspired by migration. Audiences at the Windrush celebrations will be invited to contribute to this ever-expanding textile work by adding a word inspired by their own experiences of migration. Kite Spirit came together following a project with the Royal Opera House at the High House Production Park in 2013 at which the members volunteered.
The Windrush celebrations begin at 1pm at the Tilbury Cruise Terminal. The ROH Thurrock Community Chorus performances are at 1.30pm and 3.30pm. The event is free and open to all. For more information about the ROH Thurrock Community Chorus, please email email@example.com or go to www.roh.org.uk/community-chorus.