Grammy award winner's Carlisle church recital

A Grammy award winning musician is to return to his childhood church to perform a special fundraising recital.

David Hill (courtesy John Wood)David Hill was born in Carlisle and was a choirboy at St Michael's, Stanwix. He is one of the UK's leading choral directors and is a world renowned organist.

Now he has accepted an invitation to perform at the church next month to help raise money following building work costing more than £75,000.

He said: "Had I not been to Stanwix School and been in the choir at St Michael's Stanwix, I suspect my musical life would have developed with less certainty. There isn't a question in my mind the support and guidance I was given was some of the most important and significant for which I will always be grateful."

The programme of music for the recital is yet to be confirmed but it is hoped that between 200 and 300 people will attend the event which will take place from 3.15pm on Sunday 1 February.

Michael Pearson, a member of St Michael's fundraising committee, said: “David still has links with a number of people at our church and one of them made contact asking if he would be prepared to help.

“I then spoke with him and he was very keen to come back to help. Obviously he has an extremely busy schedule. He will be abroad in the weeks leading up to the recital and the night before he will be performing at Liverpool.

“So we are really grateful to him for the efforts he is making to come and play for us.”

The recent building work, which was completed in December, came after dry rot was discovered in woodwork which had to be removed.

Rob Cook, chairman of St Michael's building committee, and Michael Pearson, member of the church's fundraising committee, in front of the recently replaced church organ which will be played by David HilllIt meant that the church's organ – one of Cumbria's finest – had to be temporarily moved too. It was re-installed just in time for the Christmas midnight service..

Rev Nigel Beer, Vicar of St Michael's, said: “We are delighted that David Hill has found time to return to the parish where he was born and to treat us to a world class performance in the historic surroundings of Stanwix.

“We fully expect the demand for the tickets to this event to be very popular and I would recommend people to book early.”

Tickets for the event are now available and are priced at £12.50 each or two for £20. Under 16s are admitted for free. They can be bought in person at D & D McWilliams Opticians in Church Street, Carlisle, or by contacting 01228 522036.

Notes for editors
In 1997 David Hill's work as chorus master with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus on Walton's Belshazzar's Feast secured a Grammy for Best Choral Performance.

He was educated at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester, of which he is now a governor, and was made Fellow of the Royal College of Organists at the age of 17.

He is recognised by his appointments as Chief Conductor of the BBC Singers, Musical Director of the Bach Choir, Music Director of the Southern Sinfonia, Music Director of the Leeds Philharmonic Society, Associate Guest Conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and from July 2013 as Principal Conductor of Yale Schola Cantorum.

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For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07984 927434, 01228 815401 or at carlisledco@gmail.com.