Researching Trench Symphony
Photographs taken on a group research trip to Imperial War Museum London, where volunteers accessed the archives and study room during the project.
Trench Symphony is built on verbatim testimony, excerpts of letters, sounds that soldiers and civilians told us they heard during wartime and human responses to war. Many of the lyrics in the piece come as a direct result of research conducted by the composer and volunteers and the soundscape within the piece includes authentic instruments and a letter from a soldier killed at the Somme read by a relative that is also a veteran of war (in this case the second world war). You can hear the soundscape here.
In addition to working with the volunteers in the community choirs to realise the graphic section of Trench Symphony, composer Charlie Wells worked with several volunteers to gather research which focused and informed her writing for the commemorative work, Trench Symphony.
She facilitated a visit for volunteers Linda Maynard and Jacqui Wicks to the Imperial War Museum London, to view their permanent exhibition on WW1 and to explore and research information not currently available digitally or in the museums' galleries. Whilst at the archive, Linda focused on the Lena Ashwell papers which you can find more information about here, and Jacqui looked at the Daily Mail Cheery Fund and the Bamforth song postcards. In addition, Jacqui also looked at poetry in WW1 researched female war poets and visited WW1 enthusiast B Palin in Northumberland to hear and record the WW1 Trench Organ for the work.
Colin Carbert, accessed the project initially through the community choir sessions and after learning about Fred White's contribution to the project, he researched his story more fully and discovered his wartime fate. You can discover this for yourself here.