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The University of Southampton

'Creation' provides musical highlight for University's Golden Jubliee

Published: 24 April 2002

A performance of Haydn's masterpiece, The Creation, will provide the grand finale to events celebrating the University of Southampton's Golden Jubilee on Monday (29 April), the University's Charter Day.

Charter Day marks the anniversary of the presentation of the University's Charter by Queen Elizabeth II on 29 April 1952, and the date has added historical resonance in being the anniversary of the day The Creation was premiered in Vienna in 1798.

The Southampton University Sinfonietta will join forces with the Southampton Philharmonic Society, the University Chamber Choir and other local singers for what promises to be an electric evening at Southampton Guildhall.

Conductor Paul Ingram said: "To be performing Haydn's Creation in the University's Charter Day Concert is a great honour. We all very much look forward to celebrating not only 50 years of continuing success at the University, but also Haydn's crowning musical achievement."

Soprano soloist Rebecca Collins added: "It is a great privilege to perform Haydn's grand epic. Wonderful drama and glorious melodies make for a joyous musical celebration."

The concert is the culmination of a series of celebratory events on Charter Day. Also that day, student volunteers from the campus organisation Community Action will be launching a project to help create an environmental/wildlife area for pupils at St Denys Primary School in Dundee Road, Southampton. Around 20 students will be teaming up with teachers and pupils to start work on the project on Monday morning, helped by the University Vice-Chancellor's wife Sylvie Wakeham.

In addition, the Students' Union is planning the largest all day outside party in the history of the University for Charter Day. There will record breaking attempts, cultural displays, competitions, some celebrity appearances and fairground rides. The day will finish with a big event in the Union in the evening.

Union President Stephen Edwards said: "We are trying to ensure that at least the daytime activities will be free to all of our members. I don't think that once every 50 years is too often to pull out the stops and have a big party." The day will start with a relay run, organised by the Athletic Union, where 50 runners will help to take a congratulatory note to the Queen from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bill Wakeham. The run mirrors a similar event in 1953 when 19 Southampton runners ran from the University of London, which was formerly the University's parent institution, to Southampton with a message of congratulation for the Duke of Wellington, the first Chancellor of the University.

Charter Day will also see the University's first Annual Festival of Sport-Past v Present, with the Jubilee Cup being presented annually to the winning team. All the major outdoor sports will be played at the University's Wellington Sports Ground in Stoneham Lane. At the Highfield Campus in the afternoon there will be badminton and trampoline sessions and an equestrian demonstration, whilst at Calshot there will be kitesurfing, sailing and windsurfing competitions.

The Student's Union Rag Department will be using Charter Day as a fundraiser for charities. During the day, Rag will be trying to break the world record for the most number of people on a single-decker bus. The record currently stands at 120. Those wishing to take part will be charged an entry fee.

In the evening there will be a 'walking on coals' event. Thirty people have so far signed up for the chance to walk across the embers-and proceeds from this will go to Action for the Blind.

Notes for editors

  1. Events for Charter Day include:
    · Relay run with 50 runners taking a congratulatory note to the Queen from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bill Wakeham
    . Annual Festival of Sport-Past versus Present
    . Students' Rag world record attempt for the most number of people on a single-decker bus
    . Rag 'walking on coals' fundraising event
    . Community Action volunteers launch environmental project with local school
    . Largest all day outside party in the history of the University
    . Performance of Haydn's masterpiece, The Creation, at Southampton Guildhall
  2. The University of Southampton is a leading UK teaching and research institution with a global reputation for leading-edge research and scholarship. The University, which celebrates its Golden Jubilee in 2002, has 20,000 students and over 4,500 staff and plays an important role in the City of Southampton. Its annual turnover is in the region of £215 million.
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