Our main function has always been to sing vacation services at Kieran’s local cathedral (Ripon then Newcastle), though we also sing elsewhere by invitation. Here are a few details from recent years.
2013 – an Eastertide Eucharist at the cathedral (accompanied by James Norrey), then two rural Evensongs in May at Felton and June at Mitford. The latter marked the start of celebrations for Kieran’s 60th birthday – see our ‘GALLERY’ for pictures of the birthday weekend itself, at Reading. August 2013, the Choir’s 30th anniversary, saw our annual concert at Brinkburn (Saturday 24th) and cathedral services on Sunday 25th. It had been suggested (from Ripon) that having started there in 1983 we should return in 2013. Sadly, events overtook that; the Ripon Choir School closed in July 2012. Newcastle University residential facilities were also much reduced that year, so we only put on quite small weekend events here. Essentially, we marked the Choir’s anniversary like most other years since 1983, doing our bit (by invitation) to support our local cathedral.
We sang two more cathedral services in early 2014, and put on two small concerts at Brinkburn in May and August. Organ-based concerts (lots of chorale preludes etc., with a small choir demonstrating the hymn tunes and singing an anthem or two) have proved increasingly popular. We were back at the cathedral for a Eucharist at the October 2014 Half-Term, featuring Kieran‘s ‘Missa Orbis Factor’ and a welcome return of Mike Dutton as accompanist.
We sang a special Evensong in July 2015 at St James & St Basil, Fenham to welcome two new clergy, and we were again joined by Roger, Helen, and Lucinda Taylor from Ripon. Then our annual August gathering included cathedral services and the Brinkburn concert, as usual.
In 2016, services and concert went well on 26th-29th August, featuring Max Matthew’s final Treble appearance and a significant birthday for Janet, marked by an all-Byrd Evensong.
Another August holiday weekend in 2017 was very successful, with four excellent new singers joining us and contributing a lot musically and socially. Then to round off 2017 we were invited to sing at the cathedral on the morning of New Year’s Eve – Sung Eucharist (Byrd’s 3-part Mass) in the Chancel, which was full. We enjoyed the superb organ-playing of Ian Roberts, who even went the ‘extra mile’ by singing with us!
May 2018 saw another special Evensong, on Trinity Sunday at Morpeth (where our friend Simon White is Rector), again with the Taylors from Ripon. Special events in 2018 marked the 150th birthday of the superb 1868 William Hill organ at Brinkburn Priory. Kieran took a prominent part in the celebrations, and again some of us sang both there and at the cathedral.
Having to go to Brinkburn in recent years on August Holiday Monday has sometimes been inconvenient; so we were grateful to English Heritage for allowing more flexibility in 2019. We chose our weekend by a Doodle Poll of singers, with cathedral Evensong on Friday 16th, our Brinkburn concert on Saturday 17th (surrounded by flowers for a wedding ‘showcase’ event), then the usual cathedral services on Sunday 18th. A small group returned to Brinkburn on Holiday Monday (26th) for an organ-based concert – as noted above, we’ve had a large and appreciative audience at these concerts for some years now.
Sadly, English Heritage felt unable to allow choirs at Brinkburn in summer 2020, or any musical events in 2021 – although choirs did resume singing elsewhere, including the cathedrals at Ripon and Oxford (see our ‘NEWS’ page). Newcastle Cathedral is now open again; its Monday organ concerts had been elsewhere for 18 months, but Kieran gave the first one back at the cathedral in August, marking (there and at Oxford) his half century in church music.
Thank you for your interest in the Choir. If you’d like to sing with us, do get in touch. More information is available here throughout the year, or from Kieran and Janet (see contact details).