FINAL preparations are underway for the first-ever Durham Vocal Festival showcasing the finest vocal music from the North-East and beyond.

Seven choral music-filled days, beginning on Saturday January 28, will include the first UK performance of the Defiant Requiem: Verdi at Terezin, at Durham Cathedral, as well as performances from the Grammy Award-winning King’s Singers and composer and conductor Will Todd.

The National Youth Choirs of Great Britain Fellowship will also perform and the event will culminate in the North East Festival of Youth Choirs performance on Saturday, February 4.

The Defiant Requiem tells the story of Jewish prisoners in a Second World War concentration camp who learned Verdi’s Requiem Mass and performed it many times as a statement of defiance and resistance - answering the worst of mankind with the best.

Featuring the Durham Choral Society Orchestra and Durham University Orchestral Society Choirs, it will be staged at 7.30pm, on Saturday January 28

The Gala Theatre is also hosting events during the festival, with a performance from the Northern Lights mixed acappella group made up of Durham University students on Tuesday, January 31, and a masterclass from Durham University Opera on Wednesday, February 1.

The King's Singers, comprising a sextet of male voices, will perform at the cathedral at 7.30pm on Monday, January 28.

There will also be many workshops for choirs, conductors and members of the community to work alongside some of the choral world’s biggest names.

This will include a Come and Sing day with Will Todd, at Ushaw College from 2pm to 5pm on Sunday, January 29. The event will culminate in a mass performance at 5.30pm.

Michael Summers, manager of music education with Durham Music Service said: “We couldn’t have hoped for better artists to launch the inaugural Durham Vocal Festival.

“There will be something for everybody, from the world famous King’s Singers and Will Todd hosting a workshop before his performance, to the emotional UK premiere of the Defiant Requiem.”

“Hopefully, the festival will encourage visitors to take their interest in music further, which Durham Music Service can help with.”

All performance and event details can be found at To find out about Durham Music Service, visit