BBC composer documents the weather for Hampstead choir’s Jubilee concert

20:25 28 March 2012

Composer Benjamin Till with The Fleet Singers. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Composer Benjamin Till with The Fleet Singers. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

A BBC composer is writing a piece for a Hampstead community choir to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Benjamin Till, 37, was approached by the Fleet Singers to help with celebrations for June 16 at the old Hampstead Town Hall.

The composer, who specialises in a genre called “musical documentary”, believes that he and the Fleet Singers are a perfect match.

“I am the man you go to if you want something big and bizarre,” said Mr Till. “We wanted to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee without being too obvious.”

The composer says he is the only person in the country who writes musical documentary, a genre that documents people’s life stories within song.

He has previously written a piece called Hampstead Heath: The Musical, which was performed on the BBC in 2005 soon after the July 7 bombings.

Each member of the 46-strong Fleet Singers choir has now put forward stories from the last six decades to assist with creating the composition.

Organisers soon realised that many stories were centred on significant weather events from each decade, ranging from the “Great Smog” in the 1950s to London’s hottest day in 2003.

Mr Till researched each of the six weather phenomena using old editions of the Ham&High. “I spent so much time looking through the old editions because that felt like the right newspaper to get information, as the Fleet Singers are based in the same area,” said Mr Till.

The hour-long piece of music will be performed by a pianist and string quintet with 10 minutes dedicated to each of the six decades.

Chairwoman of the Fleet Singers, Pam Gilby, hopes that more people from the area will join the choir to take part in the celebration.

“We are a community choir and are open to absolutely everybody, so we want to make it a celebration for the community too,” she said.

* For information about joining the Fleet Singers visit


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