A choral anniversary, a radical book fair and a festival of Hull’s heritage are among the events which are supporting the relaunch of a city centre venue as a cultural and community destination.
Nordic House, which operates at the Danish Church in Osborne Street, Hull, was chosen by Hull Community Voices to host the choir’s celebration of 20 years of singing in the city.
Next weekend it will present the first annual Hull Radical Book Fair and in September it will again open its doors to the public to view the building and artefacts as part of Heritage Open Days.
Charlotte Theill, manager of Nordic House, said: “There has been a Danish Church in Hull since 1871 but in recent years the number of services has declined and we have stepped up our efforts to bring in other events.
“The programme is already more varied than we could have imagined. We still have some religious services and our traditional events including the Midsummer celebration and the Scandinavian Christmas Market and we have added many more with business events, exhibitions and quizzes.
“The current run of the Relics and Rails industrial heritage exhibition followed by the choir festival, the radical book fair and an event to mark Heritage Open Days really is an eclectic mix. We’re working on adding more ideas all the time and will feature them on our new website which will be launched soon.”
The Radical Book Fair will take place on Saturday 12 August from 11am until 4pm and was fully booked with stalls within weeks of being announced. Among the organisations planning to attend are Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Hull Wildlife Protectors, AnarCom Network and the Communist Workers Organisation.
Events within the book fair will include workshops by Sheffield Palestine Action Workshop and the Prison Abolition Group plus a performance by Yorkshire beat poet Jack Horner, aka Leon the Pig Farmer.
The Heritage Open Days events will take place on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 September and among the activities will be a presentation by representatives of the Viola Trust about plans to bring the old trawler back to life by developing a “virtual Viola” project.
Hull Community Voices marked its 20th anniversary by partnering with the barbershop chorus Humber Harmony and the female barbershop chorus Three Crown Sound for an afternoon of singing which raised money for Hull Help for Refugees and Hull Food Bank.
Debbie Darmody, co-leader with Jack Bridges of Hull Community Voices, said the not-for-profit group welcomed the chance to return to the Danish Church having performed there at a choir festival before Covid.
Debbie said: “I have been in the choir for the last 12 years and I have been a leader for about six years. We have about 40 members from in and around Hull and there are some who have been involved for nearly the full 20 years.
“The group was set up on the basis that everybody can sing and everybody has a voice and that’s still the ethos. We have some people who are almost semi-professional and others who were told at school that they couldn’t sing but who always wanted to if they got the chance.”
Val Allison, who lives in Hull, joined the choir nearly 19 years ago after her husband died and is continuing a passion for music dating back more than 70 years.
Val said: “I have always liked singing and I come from a musical family. My dad was a concert secretary in a club, I was in the choir at Constable Street school and there was always music on in our house.
“I saw the choir advertised and I have been in it ever since. It’s friendly, uplifting and good for mental health and dealing with loneliness because it makes you believe in yourself.
“We sing in different languages and at different venues. We have people from all sorts of backgrounds, we help one another and we bring joy to others when we sing in residential homes and homeless shelters, and that’s a wonderful thing to do.”
Charlotte added: “The choir event was great fun for the singers and their audience and because they enjoyed it so much we are now talking about organising similar events including singing workshops to help others get involved.
“The Radical Book Fair on Saturday will be the first of its kind in the city and we’re really pleased that the organisers decided to come to us. It will be a busy day in the city centre with Humber Street Sesh also taking place and we’re hopeful that a lot of people will come and explore the book fair on their way to the festival. We can keep their purchase in a safe place for them to collect at a later date.”
To find out more about Hull Community Voices please visit https://hullcommunityvoices.org.uk/
For details of events and availability at Danish Church and Nordic House call 01482 225469