A new year, time to join a choir!

So it’s September, the time of year when anyone who has anything to do with education gets ready to renew. There’s something more poignant for me about September than there is about January… In January everything is sleeping, no one wants to go out of the house, it’s cold and normally skint! (Don’t get me wrong, apart from the skint bit I love January!)


So September is where we can start new hobbies with enthusiasm and get in to them before winter strikes. So why not? Choir are great, but you already knew that I bet.

The photo on this post is me in Tofino, British Columbia. I’m sharing it not because I like the photo but because I was about to try something new… a trip on a sea plane. I loved it. Join a choir… you might love it too.

Monday Morning – Tarset Song Reivers – Tarset Village Hall
We sing a mixture of fun repertoire including folk songs, gospel songs, pop songs. We sometimes stop for coffee and cake, and we always laugh as much as we sing. And because we sing in the round we get to hear the sound we create, we sound good.
This choir is open to people who have never sung before and those with all levels of experience. We mostly sing in four parts and learn by ear, I do give notation when I have it but I’ll never expect anyone to be able to read it straight off.


Monday Evening – Tynedale Community Choir – St Aidan’s Church Hall, Hexham
Tynedale Community Choir has about 70 members. We sing for ourselves and occasionally do performances. We learn by ear, though when notation is available I will hand it out. Our members are very sociable with an optional trip to the pub after each session. The repertoire is very mixed, usually including some folk songs as they’re my favourites. We’re a solid four part choir with a really good tenor and bass section.
Anyone is welcome to join us, if you’d like more information please contact tynecomchoir@gmail.com and speak to Neil or Stephen.


Tuesday Morning – Sing Morpeth – St James’ Community Centre, Morpeth

I was this choirs first leader many years ago and have recently taken them back as Bridie has moved on to pastures new. There are about 100 of them in each session. They have a cracking sense of humour and love to sing their hearts out. Those who like a cup of tea come about 10.15 and we sing straight through from 10.30 to 12pm. Most often in four parts we enjoy a huge variety of repertoire especially ones that allow us to really sing out. Most people like to have the notation though I (Kathryn) try to sneak a few learnt by ear… it’s good for our musicality!


Wednesday Evening – West End Voices – St James’ Church, Benwell
This choir started in 2012 and we have about 20-25 members. We sing in a round in a church hall with beautiful acoustics. Lots of members come at about 6.45pm to grab a cup of tea or coffee before we start singing at 7o’clock. The repertoire is varied and fun and we have a wonderful tenor and bass section, in fact West End Voices is a beautifully balances choir. Anyone is welcome, and this choir is donation based. If you can only afford 50p that is fine, if you can afford £5 that’s great. We are very keen that money is not a barrier to this hobby.


So those are my choirs, I love leading all of them. Each has it’s own personality quirks and I really enjoy that. If you’ve got any questions don’t hesitate to drop me a message using the contact tab.


I Got A Spring In My Step (choirs)

Happy 2017!

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.