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Jethro Tull front man stars in Christmas fundraiser for Newcastle Cathedral

Members of a Cathedral choir will swap hymns for prog-rock when they back the legendary Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull fame, in Newcastle on Friday (December 14) ...

Members of a Cathedral choir will swap hymns for prog-rock when they back the legendary Ian Anderson, of Jethro Tull fame, in Newcastle on Friday (December 14).

Ian Anderson and Friends will be performing a Christmas concert at the Cathedral Church of St Nicholas in the city centre to to help raise money for cathedral funds.

The event will include carols, classical music and several Jethro Tull songs, including one of the band’s most famous tracks, Aqualung, complete with an introduction played on the Cathedral organ. The song featured on the album of the same name, which was released in 1971.

Famed as the man who introduced the flute to rock music, and also for his trademark one-legged stance on stage, Ian Anderson (pictured right) regularly performs at concerts to support cathedrals and churches. Venues in which he has performed have included Salisbury and Canterbury cathedrals.

Michael Stoddart, Director of Music at St Nicholas (pictured left with choristers), said: “It’s terribly exciting. It’s a great way of bringing together all sorts of different aspects of life. It’s not often you can bring together classical, rock and religious music under one roof and that’s what makes it very exciting. And what a great musician to be working with.

“It brings a whole new dimension to what we can do in the Cathedral, especially with the new lighting and the effects which they will bring. Historically, rock music has been associated with cathedrals and it should be a fantastic event.”

Ian said: “I have played, in the past few years, in a number of cathedrals and churches in the UK and abroad. I like to combine elements of the Christmas tradition with the Jethro Tull repertoire as well as some classical music and church tunes. Combine this with two wonderful local musical guests, Bob Fox and Kathryn Tickell, and we should be able to offer audiences the chance to celebrate the season in great style.

“Bringing a different audience to the experience of the Anglican Church traditions offers them the chance to feel involved with their local church or cathedral life. No, I am not a true-blue Christian but I support the Church and value our great traditions of faith and worship. Even more, I value the architectural heritage of an age which will not come again. Once the roof falls in, it will turn into a block of flats or a Starbucks.

“As the organ and choir are integral to the Christmas Carol service, it feels appropriate to include them in the mix. As we do with prayer, blessing and readings. It is a very delicate balance of tradition, Anglican worship, and the secular musical world of rock and roll. And all of this for the modest, princely sum that is the price of a ticket, 100% of which goes to the Cathedral fund. Everyone‘s a winner.”

Ian Anderson has performed more than 3,000 concerts in 40 countries and his Christmas shows tend to be a mixture of rock, folk and traditional elements that reflect the church and cathedrals’ use as a sacred and historic space. Doors open 7pm for a 7.30pm start.

Tickets are £25 from the ticket office at The Sage Gateshead on 0191 443 4661.

Photos: Top right: Ian Anderson – photo from j-tull.com publicity
Above left: St Nicholas Support from (left to right): Georgiana Dalliston, Christopher Gardner, Jake Hardiment, Michael Stoddart, Neil Turnbull. Photo: Keith Blundy/Aegies Associates

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