A NEW requiem – When a Child is a Witness – will be premiere at Coventry Cathedral at 5pm on Saturday, February 26.
The piece has been composed by Liz Dilnot Johnson and includes including refugee communities and young people from across Coventry.
Celebrating refuge and hope the requiem features music, visual art, poetry and theatre and is a collaboration between Liz Dilnot Johnson and Ex Cathedra – one of the UKs top choirs.
The venue provides a fitting backdrop for the performance as When a Child is a Witness was inspired by the windows of Coventry Cathedral.
Different communities, musicians and traditions will be welcomed to perform alongside each other, giving the audience a ‘window’ into different worlds.
Music from different cultures is threaded through the choral music, along with instrumental meditations played by the solo violin, piano, organ and West African kora.
The audience will hear – and at times participate in – songs of remembrance, of hope and kindness, of resilience, acknowledging what has been lost, and raising awareness of what it means to make a new home in a foreign land.
Liz said: “Working with the children, the charities in Coventry and with Ex Cathedra over the last few months has been a thrilling journey.
“Creating new songs and new material can help validate each person’s identity and this is one way isolated individuals and families can start to feel more like they belong to a community.
“I wanted to use my setting of the Requiem to bring together people who wouldn’t usually share a platform.
“I feel passionately about the need for providing a safe haven for refugees – families forced out of their homes due to war, famine or other disasters.
“I think through working in partnership with the different groups involved we have shown the positive outcomes when you give people an opportunity to create within a safe space.
“We want our audience to hear and celebrate all the different voices coming together for this unique event and also share in the hopefulness we feel for the future, here in Coventry.”
A bell will chime to introduce each of the six windows.
A group of young mums and their children present the first ‘window’. Based on a traditional Ghanaian lullaby, Tutu Gbovi, the group’s new song ‘I will Carry You’ will be sung by one of the mums, Anita.
The young mothers – from a wide range of different places around the world and now living in Coventry – have created this new song about being ‘Carriers of Hope’.
The women will sing together about their hopes and dreams for the future of the little boys and girls they are carrying in their arms.
The other windows will include words from young refugees from the European Youth Music Refugee Choir and Sharing Cultures, Inini and CARAG, supported by the Belgrade Theatre and Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre.
During the performance images of the Cathedral’s windows will be shown along with paintings by visual artist Fion Gunn from her ‘Age of Exploration’ Series.
Visit lizjohnsoncomp.wordpress.com for more on Liz Dilnot Johnson.
Tickets – available at coventry2021.co.uk/what-s-on/when-a-child-is-a-witness/ – are £20 for adults and £5 for children (up to age 16).
Liz Dilnot Johnson is raising £3,000 to keep creating and to support creative work with refugees and asylum seekers in and around Coventry as part of #whenachildisawitness.
Go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/keepcreating to contribute to the cause.