The Family Carol Concerts of 2010 included the world premiere in the Royal Concert Hall of a new carol by Nottingham-born Tim Sutton. In an exciting setting of the well-known mediaeval carol ‘The Seven Joys’. Tim wrote a carol for the massed forces of the Nottingham Harmonic Choir, the Thoresby Colliery Band and the mighty roar of the organ.
Tim was commissioned by the choir to write the carol as a tribute to Lewis Payne, a long-serving and greatly respected member of the choir from 1960 and President from 1997 until his death aged 100 in 2008. Tim writes - I'm exceedingly proud that the choir has asked me to write this carol. I spent fifteen very happy years in Nottingham, and to be able to come back and hear my own work performed by such a fine institution in the beautiful Concert Hall is a rare privilege.
Director of Music Richard Laing, on first sight of the score said – it is an exciting dynamic work bound to be an instant success with our audiences, and one which could easily become a regular feature of carol concerts around the country. The Nottingham audiences will be privileged to be a part of the world's first performance, in the presence of the composer.
Tim Sutton, who now lives and works in London, was educated at Arno Vale Junior School (1981-5) followed by Nottingham High School (1985-9). He was a Founders Scholar won the Bridge Prize for drama at 11 and the carol writing competition aged 12. He first performed at the Theatre Royal as one of the children in Hans Andersen, Nottingham Operatic Society, 1985, and went on to do five other productions with NOS and NOS Juniors.
At St Peter's Church Nottingham whilst a chorister (1986-9) he wrote music for the choir there,
under music director Kendrick Partington. He went on to win the Vivian Ellis Prize for New Musicals in 1990, with Beauty and the Beast,
originally written for St Peter's Church Youth Group. The prize was adjudicated by Andrew Lloyd Webber,
Tim Rice and Cameron Mackintosh.
Tim's family musical The Secret Garden runs regularly in London and had a long run in the Birmingham Rep Theatre.
Lewis Payne, the carol's dedicatee, was a remarkable man who had to withdraw from taking part as a runner in the 1928 Olympics due to not being able to afford the time off work! Not in those days did sponsorship have such a high profile. His later working life in the tax inspectorate gave him opportunity to meet the Duke of Edinburgh and guide him at the opening of East Midlands Airport. His life in the Nottingham Harmonic Choir extended to taking on successively all the key roles including Treasurer and General Secretary and making a vocal contribution in the basses. His life was so full of interesting stories that he was persuaded to write an autobiography, published by the Harmonic Society.
The Harmonic Choir is delighted to commission Tim to celebrate Lewis Payne's contribution to Nottingham life
through 'The Seven Joys' – a rhythmically tantalising, musically fascinating, effervescent
carol complete with brass fanfares and organ accompaniment.
The Seven Joys was first performed by the Nottingham Harmonic Choir, Thoresby Colliery Band, Organ played by John Morehen, conducted by Richard Laing on Saturday 18 and Wednesday 22 December 2010 in the Royal Concert Hall Nottingham. It was performed again in the Family Carol Concerts in 2012.
Tim is one of the most versatile musicians in the UK. In the last year he has musically directed his own score of The Bacchae for the Lincoln Center Festival, New York, acted as judge for BBC Radio 3’s Choir of the Year and Young Musician of the Year, and written the score for BBC7’s adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera. He is the Musical Director of Music Theatre 4 Youth, Associate Composer for Voce Chamber Choir and Director of Children’s Classical Chorus. Tim’s choral work is published by Novello Ltd.
Tim is also an Associate of the Inner Magic Circle of Great Britain.