HUMAN rights activist and author Sir Terry Waite introduced a new choral work based on poetry at Salisbury Cathedral. 

The piece, called Awakening and composed by Paul Carr, was performed at Salisbury Cathedral by 270 musicians on June 22. 

The work has been adapted from 16 poems written by Stephen Feltham which form the libretto of the music.

Stephen said: "Awakening is a series of 16 poems charting the awakening of spiritual awareness within a soul and it's development through realisation that life is wonderful. There is a circle of hope that is always there. 

"I wrote these poems and submitted them for academic review to the symphony chorus and they thought it had a significant amount of merit."

The work was performed by Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra's chorus, youth chorus, orchestra, the choristers of Salisbury Cathedral and Salisbury Musical Society, conducted by David Halls, the director of music at the cathedral.

Sir Terry spoke briefly of his four years in solitary confinement in Lebanon. 

He was taken hostage after travelling to Beirut as an envoy for the Church of England to try to secure the release of four hostages, including the journalist John McCarthy.

However he was held captive from 1987 to 1991, including four years in solitary confinement, during which time he was subjected to a mock execution and brutal torture.

He spoke about his ordeal at the performance and told the audience about when he was given a small radio during his fifth year as a hostage and he tuned to the BBC World Service and listened to the Dream of Gerontius, which lifted his spirit, confirming to him how important music is in our lives.

Sir Terry WaiteSir Terry Waite (Image: Chris Chelu)

SEE ALSO: Installation in Salisbury Cathedral Close defended by tourists

Stephen said: "I feel honoured that the Bournemouth Symphony Chorus should feel the book of such merit that it should commission Paul Carr to set the many poems within the book to music.

"I feel it is a lifetime's opus and feel grateful for my good fortune in seeing Awakening develop and come to fruition."

Alongside his poetry, Stephen has also created a orchestral charity called Chorali Fiscus. 

The charity aims to fund choirs in the Bournemouth area to enable them to continue their work without financial burden with over £30,000 donated to the charity.

Stephen said: "A lot of choirs, especially since the pandemic, without support will go bust and while one's compassion is drawn towards foodbanks which are necessary, who is giving money to the arts?

"A good meal will keep you going for 24 hours, a good spiritual uplift will keep you elevated for months."

Chorali Fiscus has helped fund eight choirs on the couth coast which includes three in Bournemouth. 

Stephen, whose family comes from Salisbury, says he has great affection for the area.