18 August 2008

Hero Dog's Canine Choir Tribute

A canine choir is being formed for a musical tribute to a 1930's hero dog. Swansea Jack was a black retriever who became renowned for rescuing drowning swimmers in the city's docks and river.

Cardiff-based artist Richard Higlett has been commissioned to create a piece of music to be performed by dogs to celebrate Jack's life. With the working title of 'A song for Jack' he intends auditioning dogs for the public performance at the National Waterfront Museum in October.

The project has been commissioned by Locws International, an arts charity based in Swansea, as part of the 60th Swansea Festival of Music and Arts. The performance will tie in with a special exhibition at the museum. Mr Higlett intends running a blog about the project on his website.

On his website he says: "The proposal is to audition a selection of local dogs to form a dogs' choir. This concert will be filmed and recorded and observed by musicians who will translate this spontaneous concert to form a piece of sheet music, dedicated to Swansea Jack." He adds: "A song for Jack comes from my interest [in] things we interpret, as incidental can also be viewed as creative and profound. When dogs sing they are returning instinctively to their lives as part of a pack."

Born in 1930 Swansea Jack hit the headlines the following year when he rescued a swimmer from the docks. Legend has it that during the seven years he lived he went on to save 27 people from drowning. In 1936 he was named the 'Bravest Dog of the Year' by the London Star newspaper and was awarded two bronze medals by the National Canine Defence League. Some people believe the nickname Jacks, given to natives of the city, derives from the dog.

[Source: BBC News]