The retiring head of the Hereford Three Choirs Festival is certain to end his chairmanship on a bang after solving the problem of how to ensure authentic canon sounds during the performance of the ‘1812 Overture’ at the Festival’s final concert.
Jeremy Wilding is stepping down having chaired the local organising committee for the highly successful 2006 and 2009 Festivals in Hereford as well as for this year’s event which has been brought forward into late July so that it leads up to the London Olympics.
Tchaikovsky’s famous piece, written to commemorate Napoleon’s forced retreat from Moscow, will feature in a special ‘Olympic Fanfare’ concert in the Cathedral on Friday July 27th. The concert has been specially timed to begin at 6pm so that Festival goers will still be able to watch the opening ceremony of the Games.
“Everyone knows the score includes canon fire,” said Jeremy, “but that presents problems particularly when the performance is in a building like our cathedral.” Jeremy said thought had been given to using a real canon but the problem of the percussion of the gun – and the potential threat to the Cathedral’s windows – counted out that idea.
After giving the matter lots of thought, Jeremy has come up with a solution with the help of colleagues at Gabbs Solicitors where he is a partner. They’ve agreed to help meet the cost of a simulated – but authentic – canon shot. “It’s a digital solution,” said Jeremy. “It’ll be like the real thing but with none of the problems that might have caused.”
It will be a fitting end to his period as chairman which has seen the Hereford Festival continue to be a big noise on the country’s cultural stage.  “It’s been an incredible time which I have thoroughly enjoyed but the moment is right to step aside and to let someone else take the Festival forward,” he said.


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