Friday, November 9 sees the return of The Gathering Wave, as choirs from all around Herefordshire come together in the centenary year of the Armistice to honour those who suffered during the First World War.

Responsible for curating Remember 1914-1918, the concert which will feature songs and readings of both poetry and prose are Dennis Schiavon of The Music Pool and Hilary Smallwood, both of whom have been committed to staging The Gathering Wave this year, after the disappointment of not being part of this year's Three Choirs Festival.

"We had declined the afternoon performance slot we were offered with a heavy heart because we felt the decrease in the amoutn of time we had to set up would affect the quality of what we were able to do.

"We wanted to do Gathering Wave again because it's a movement, a community entity and has a lot of support and feels like a family," says Hilary.

A few minor hiccoughs later and this year's concert will take place in Point4, after a Health and Safety inspection at the Shire Hall reduced the on-stage capacity from 130 to 80. And, a concert that was, says Hilary, always going to be about the centenary, serendipitously falls on the Friday that kick starts a weekend of centenary events.

Included in a packed programme of songs and readings is a piece written specially by Jon Watson called Passchendaele Sunshine - "it's not meant to be a celebration, it's more of a reflection on what people had taken away through no fault of their own," adds Hilary. "The Gathering Wave is about the ordinary people who got sucked into war."

The music, they say, will be very varied, with some of it very hard-hitting and thought-provoking.

"The concert will be representing various points of view," says Dennis, "and we are hoping all those points of view will respect each other - some people will be wearing medals, some will be wearing red poppies, others white ones and some none at all."

Jon Watson has also written a piece called Girls with Yellow Hands, about the so-called Canary Girls from the munitions factory. It's taken from a fragment of an old lady singing this song, which they used to sing at work and which Jon has expanded into a whole song.

Also remembered in the concert will be the fire at the Garrick Theatre, when a 1916 fundraising concert for two local regiments ended in the tragic death of eight children.

Giving the readings will be local historian Elizabeth Semper-O’Keefe, who provided invaluable research,Tim Bannerman, Elissa Swinglehurst, Kath Hey,Hilary Smallwood and Dennis Schiavon.

The concert takes place at thepoint4 in Venns Lane at 7.30pm on Friday, November 9. For tickets, call the box office at The Courtyard on 01432 340555 or visit