Weymouth’s Quangle Wangle Choir has been chosen as one of just five music ensembles nationally to benefit from the Adopt A Composer scheme organised through Making Music.

The annual scheme, which has been running for 12 years, pairs up to six composers with ensembles around the UK to produce new pieces of music.

The final performances are recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3 and the whole thing is run in partnership with Sound and Music and funded by the PRS for Music Foundation.

This year more than 40 choirs applied to the scheme and the Quangle Wangle Choir, led by Juliet Harwood, has been paired with Jenni Pinnock whose work has been described as refreshing and imaginative.

Jenni studied music and composition at Kingston University, followed by a Masters in composition at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Her work is heavily influenced by nature and the world around us and has been performed around the UK and Europe.

The Quangle Wangle Choir formed in 1994 for a concert to celebrate the Tall Ships leaving Weymouth at the start of their race, and have a growing reputation for teaming beautiful harmonies with quirky comedy and a wide range of styles.

“The gods were smiling on us when we were given Jenni,” said Juliet Harwood.

“The project is exciting but it’s also quite scary because it takes us outside our comfort zone, and it’s also a huge responsibility to do the piece justice.

“We will be learning it through until Easter and then this summer we will be performing it, so by the autumn it will be well bedded-in and we will be ready for it to be recorded.”

Jenni’s composition is called Quangle Quadrille and is inspired by migratory birds, swallows in particular, that travel through Dorset. The piece begins with the shipping forecast, circling around the country and using colloquial weather phrases such as ‘blowing a hooly’ interspersed with sections of the forecast itself.

It then focuses on the journey of the birds, swooping in from across the country and joining in the Dorset skies as they travel to Portland. Towards the end of the piece, they all gather on Portland before finally launching into the sea, to begin their journey to Africa.

Jenni said: “The topic came about after asking the Quangles themselves if they had any ideas and birds were a common theme. I then asked if they had any suggestions for words, phrases or even poetry they think could be included in the piece. Their contributions, alongside poetry snippets, were combined to compile the text for the piece. Alongside the Quangle contributions there are snippets from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Thomas Hardy, Shakespeare, and Edward Lear. There’s even a moment of the Quangle Wangle’s Hat quoted.”

Juliet added: “The piece is about five minutes long and is absolutely beautiful.

“It finishes up with the Latin names of birds being intoned, while the middle part is more like the music we usually sing – a chorus with three verses.”

This year promises to be a big one for the massed voices of the Quangle Wangle Choir as the ensemble also celebrates its 20th anniversary. Events scheduled for 2014 include a performance of Britten’s Noye’s Fludde in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey in July and a series of concerts including one in Litton Cheney village hall.

There are also plans for a 20th anniversary picnic and performance at the start of the Weymouth and Portland Legacy Trail, because that is the exact spot where the fledgling Quangle Wangle Choir sat to watch the Tall Ships.

“It all started round my kitchen table,” Juliet remembered.

“Then I came across the musician Sammy Hurden who has inspired a lot of things musically locally and membership started to grow.

“In 1994, when the Tall Ships sailed out of Weymouth, there was a folk concert on the dock run by Eddie Upton of Folk SouthWest. I put the Quangles Wangles in for it – rather nervously – but he was very encouraging. I didn’t know who would lead us, but he said why didn’t I do it and just get on with it.”

Since then, the Quangles have performed almost constantly around the area, with a growing fan base. They are well known for their quirky, infectiously entertaining concerts and songs taken from all corners of the earth.

So far they have produced two CDs – Into the Great Unknown and Syllabub Sea, made up of songs of love, loss, terror at sea and the tale of a swashbuckling rat.

Another feature of the choir is their Quangle Wangle Banner, that goes with them everywhere. Embroidered and made by choir members and friends, it shows the legendary hat worn by the Quangle Wangle in Edward Lear’s nonsense poem of the same name.

Visit qwchoir.co.uk, or contact Juliet Harwood on 01305 814940, and for Jenni Pinnock visit jennipinnock.com