9th November: 7.30pm Evening Concert – A Ploughman’s Tale

To commemorate the centenary of the end of World War One, a story of an everyman who fought in the trenches, told through songs by composers or with words by poets who lived through the time of The Great War.

Performed by Robert-John Edwards (Bass-Baritone) and Sara Wilander (Piano).

The concert will take place after a short first half featuring a performance of Elgar’s songs based on Kipling’s “Fringes of the Fleet” and readings by local poets Viv Foster, Ron Graves, and Toby Wood, who will help us to remember the war and some of the local men who took part in it. We will also remember those commemorated on the two war memorials at St John’s. There will then be a twenty minute interval and a chance to view images of Peterborough from the time of the war during it.

Book nowAdvance tickets will be available from the welcome counter in St John’s when the church is open at £8, or online for £8.50. Tickets will also be available on the door for £10. Doors open at 7pm. Interval refreshments will be provided by The Green Backyard pop-up café team. Any profits from the interval refreshments will be donated to the War Memorials Trust.

Beginning with Ivor Gurney’s setting of “I Will Go With My Father A-Ploughing” and ending with the heart-breaking setting of Housman’s “Is My Team Ploughing?” by George Butterworth, himself killed in the trenches, twenty songs by a variety of composers tell the tale of a ploughboy, perhaps born around 1890. We start with him as a child, watching his father plough the fields and learning the farmer’s trade. The songs progress through his youth, where he becomes ambitious and then meets the girl of his dreams, woos her, marries her and has a child. He then joins the army, singing uplifting war songs before the horrors of the “Great” War begin to bite. He becomes home-sick, sees death up close and then, at his last hour, is desperate to go home.. The recital also includes a new original setting of McCrae’s “In Flanders’ Fields” composed by Robert-John Edwards.

Originally performed in 2014 as a 14 song recital “A Ploughman’s Tale” was expanded to a 17 song recital for BirminghamFest in 2015 and then again for an Armistice Day recital to its current 20 song format.

About Robert-John Edwards:

Stamford-born Robert-John Edwards originally trained as a pianist and composer at Middlesex University and he later trained as a singer, attending the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Since winning the post-graduate course prize there, he has gone on to sing roles for Pavilion Opera, Heritage Opera, Buxton Festival Opera, Opera Minima, Operamus,
Stanley Hall Opera, Opera Seria, Secret Opera, Saffron Opera Group, Hashtag Opera and Apollo Opera. He was a member of the professional chorus at Buxton for five years.

About Sara Wilander:

Sara Wilander was born in Sweden and started playing the piano at the age of eight. At the age of 15, she made her debut as a soloist with the Sinfonia Classica of Brussels, Belgium.
After preparatory studies at the Conservatoire National de Région of Chalon sur Saône, France, she completed her education at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. She has participated successfully in Swedish, German, English and French competitions, as a soloist as well as an accompanist. She is an experienced performer and has appeared in both solo and chamber settings throughout Europe. She is in demand as a soloist, chamber musician, and as an accompanist.