WORCESTER Cathedral will be full on Saturday for a special concert to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

Students will help ring the cathedral bells before the start of the concert on the half-muffled, harmonic minor 10 bells, setting a respectful and solemn tone for the occasion.

A chorus of 200 students and their teachers from Worcestershire secondary schools will perform Karl Jenkins’ powerful and popular work ‘The Armed Man – a Mass for Peace,’ with the Orchestra Of The Swan.

Young singers from Bishop Perowne, The Chase, Christopher Whitehead, Dyson Perrins, Malvern St. James, Pershore High School, Prince Henry’s High School and South Bromsgrove High, will perform.

They will join those at the University of Worcester, the boys and young men of Worcester Cathedral Voluntary Choir, Worcester Young Voices, and Wyre Forest Young Voices under the direction of top choral conductor, Neil Ferris, who is the new Chorus Director of the BBC Symphony Chorus and Chorus Director at the Royal College of Music, London.

The concert will be the culmination of an educational project sponsored by the Bransford Trust, which supports the charitable activities of organisations engaged with the arts, music, education and wellbeing of young people in the Worcester area.

Adding an unusual artistic dimension to the concert will be the screening of contemporary photographs of the battlefields providing a visual back-drop to the performance of The Armed Man. The images are the work of international award-winning photographer and photojournalist, Michael St. Maur Sheil.

In 2014 he launched a series of open-air exhibitions for the centenary under the title: Fields of Battle – Lands of Peace 14/18. These exhibitions are completely free to view 24/7 in public spaces of major cities. ‘Fields of Battle’ has now been viewed by over 8 million people in nine different countries.

Neil Ferris has been working directly with the teachers and students in their individual schools.

He said: "I have had a wonderful time working with everyone in the massed rehearsals and schools’ visits over the last few months.

"The students’ energy and commitment combined with the outstanding support of their teachers has been a real joy to witness."

Project organiser, Anne Renshaw said: “This project brings together education and the arts resulting in a major concert for the wider community in the context of the First World War commemorations.”

“It’s providing an exceptional opportunity for young people to perform alongside a professional orchestra – they will remember it for ever."

“We also have a number of advanced instrumental students in the county who will have the chance to play alongside members of the Orchestra Of The Swan.”

The programme includes Sir Edward Elgar’s hauntingly beautiful cello concerto, which will be played by a former BBC Young Musician winner, 20 yr-old Laura van der Heijden.

She said: “I am really excited to be playing the Concerto in Worcester, Elgar’s home town.

"Both this work and Karl Jenkins’ The Armed Man express the sorrows and hopes of humanity. Including so many young people in this concert is a wonderful way to carry forward awareness and remembrance of the First World War.”

The concert starts at 7.30pm on Saturday.