Teenage composer brings his skill to Shoreham

Shoreham Oratorio Choir concert. Chairman of Adur District Council councillor Carson Albury, retiring conductor Tony Allen, Josh Urben and MP Tim Loughton
Shoreham Oratorio Choir concert. Chairman of Adur District Council councillor Carson Albury, retiring conductor Tony Allen, Josh Urben and MP Tim Loughton
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AN AWARD-WINNING young Shoreham composer has brought his talents to a choir with a moving tribute piece.

Josh Urben, 17, from The Meadway in Shoreham, last year won a national award for a piece that was aired on BBC Radio Three.

Josh, who has been working with the Shoreham Oratorio Choir for the last year, wrote the nine-minute piece to accompany text from the dark tones of opera music.

He said: “It was incredible to win because it was the first ever competition I had entered and I had only been composing on my own for a year.”

His new piece, ‘Journey’, was a farewell to the choir’s conductor, Tony Allen, who retired last week after 35 years.

He said: “It is really, really healthy, and being part of making that composition and structure is amazing, especially working with Tony, who is an amazing conductor.”

Brian Hills, treasurer for the orchestra, said: “Josh has been part of our choir for about a year and has sung in at least three concerts bringing his youthful enthusiasm to our performances. He clearly has a love of choral music and appreciates its complexity.

“The older members of the choir are amazed by his talent. The wife of a choir member who was in the audience overheard some of the audience say that Josh’s ‘Journey’ was ‘the best piece of original music they had heard for some time.”

Josh will now be learning from Marc Yarrow, 24, who has been appointed the new conductor. He is well-known for his role on the BBC’s ‘Last Choir Standing’.

Marc said: “I saw the job advertised through a friend. He sent me the application, I applied, and they offered it to me.

“I have always had an interest in classical music and I wanted to get back to my roots. When at the BBC, you could start work on a new piece on Monday, and be recording it by Wednesday. I want the time to work on music again.

“Will you be listening to Lady Gaga in 700 years time? No, but you could be listening to Mozart. Classical music lives forever.”

Josh added: “When I first joined the choir I was a student, but after Saturday night, and with Marc coming in, I think some things may happen.”

The choir’s next performance will be in March.

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