During the evening of 12th December 2014, with the kind permission of Reverend Andy Salmon (the area Dean) and with the patient support of the Manchester Universities Guild of Changeringers, I made my first visit to Sacred Trinity Church, Chapel Street, Salford, the parish church of the ‘Salford Pals’ of the Lancashire Fusiliers.
This was to be my first outing to gather location recording for the soundscape dimension of my work to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme – ‘God’s Own Caught in No Man’s Land’ commissioned by the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra for performance on 1st July 2016, Peel Hall Salford. Sacred Trinity, a beautiful church on Chapel St. at the heart of old Salford, holds the colours of the Salford Pals as well as listing the hundreds of young men from Salford that lost their lives during the first day of the Battle of the Somme.
I managed to squeeze up into the bell tower through a very tight spiral staircase and through a very small wooden door – bashing my head against the hard stone inside several times (how I suffer for my art). Then the ‘Changeringers’ did their thing while I sat in the loft area and began to record the bells.
I could not believe how loud and powerful they sounded, listening to them so close was such an immense experience.
You can listen to a demo loop of the bells here.
My aim is to gather many location recordings that make a sonic ecological link between Salfordians of 1914/16 and 2014/16 – through making recordings of important locations ‘attached’ to the Salford Pals that have remained unchanged in the last 100 years.