Most years we meet in late August for a residential course based in Newcastle. The choir can then reach its full strength (up to 30 singers, with equal numbers of men and women), so that we can tackle the more demanding six and eight part music. Having a mixed alto line widens our scope even more.
In recent years the summer week has been based on choral services at Newcastle Cathedral, Hexham Abbey, and other local churches. We always explore a wide range of music from the 16th to the 21st centuries, including some unfamiliar pieces – ten years ago we gave the first Newcastle performance of “The Queens’ Service” by Stanford. By arrangement with English Heritage, we also put on a concert in the lovely setting of Brinkburn Priory in rural Northumberland during the course.
In July 2015 we sang Evensong at St James & St Basil, Fenham, to welcome two newly ordained clergy. As so often, we enjoyed the support and the company of friends from Ripon Cathedral. Then in August we met from Friday 28th to Monday 31st, with Sunday services and the Brinkburn concert on Monday. Unusually we featured two excellent boy choristers, both of them on-going participants in the research work of Professor Martin Ashley into boys’ voices. For the first time we also used city centre residences of Northumbria University, within walking distance of the cathedral (this picture shows Henderson Hall of Newcastle University, a couple of miles out of town).
Our August 2016 weekend was from Friday 26th to Monday 29th, at the cathedral and Brinkburn, again based at the Northumbria flats – complete with a nearby Hen Party!
We held a similar, very successful weekend in August 2017. Music included a Mass by Palestrina, the D Minor Mag & Nunc by Walmisley, and some York-connected pieces to mark the forthcoming 100th birthday of Dr Francis Jackson. More details will be ‘posted’ here soon (and are available from Kieran or Janet). In 2018 the William Hill organ at Brinkburn will be 150 years old – watch this space for news of celebrations.