I’m covering the wonderful Caedmon Choir while their long-standing leader, Eleanor Mooney, is on maternity leave. I finish with them at Easter and will be very sad. They are hard-working, fun, enthusiastic, politically aligned with me, and sing like they mean it. That’s my favourite kind of singing. Their Christmas schedule was intense! Fantastic fun was had singing at Beamish Outdoor Museum in the dark… I’ve still never managed to get fish and chips at Beamish… that’s my top NY resolution!! Caedmon also sang in Eldon Square to raise money for charity, and at Central Library in Newcastle too.
Tynedale Community Choir have their annual residential at Ridley Hall this coming weekend. I’m very much looking forward to it because Nathan and I get to work together! This is a rare treat these days as he is now an EYFS teacher. The weekend is going to be spent looking at vocal selections from West Side Story and The Lion King… I’ve promised them no choreography (sadly!). We start on Saturday, work through until the evening and then again on Sunday ending with a sharing performance for friends and family at 2.30pm.
For Tynedale this will be an exciting and fun weekend but tinged with some sadness as it was recently made public that Ridley Hall is to be sold. This is a huge loss to the area and especially to anyone with ties to Haydon Bridge High School where the Hall was the boarding wing for the 200sq mile catchment area of the state run school. Where will those young people go? Will they really have a 4 hour commute to school daily?
Both Tynedale and Caedmon are looking forward to the Street Choirs Festival at the end of June. It’s being organised by Dave Burbridge and held in Kendal this time round.
Song Reivers, my extremely rural choir based in Northumberland National Park, now have over 30 members on the books. We’re in our 10th year and have been self sustaining for 7 of those. 30 members means over 25 at each rehearsal… we’re having to contemplate changing from sitting in one large circle to a more formal ‘choir formation’! I’ll write a post about working in rural environments at a later date. We’re performing as part of a private Irish Night at Tarset Village Hall on 17th March. It’s also a leaving party for one of our founder members and the person who has run the finances from the beginning. Jan is moving to Hexham (quite a change from 3 miles up a single track road!). She will be hugely missed in this community and has done an almost unfathomable amount for the community in the years she’s lived in Tarset. I’m hoping she’ll come and join Tynedale!
West End Voices are currently residing in the vestry of St James’ Church, Benwell… the church hall is having it’s new ceiling fitted and so we have moved a bit. The choir are so accommodating because we are ever thankful to the church for allowing us to use the space. We’re sitting in a more formal set up currently and while it’s due to space, it’s really working… but these guys like to be able to see each other. A community can and should be able to look each other in the eye.
I’ve very sadly had to turn down a piece of work recently as I don’t have time to do it justice but if you are someone who lives with dementia or cares for someone with dementia please keep an eye out for a wonderful opportunity coming soon in the Jesmond area.