Gathering talent for annual winter concert

AN exciting line-up has been put together for the annual Northumbrian Winter Concert in Morpeth.

The successful format for the Morpeth Gathering fund-raiser will be repeated as there will be a mix of familiar faces and talented performers introduced to the audience for the first time.

Alistair Anderson, superstar of the concertina from Whittingham, has headlined this event almost every year since it was set up in the 1970s.

Other regulars include the duo of Stannington singer Anita James and mouth organ player Ernie Gordon from Alnwick, local dancers the Clock Tower Cloggies, Morpeth-based band Border Directors and the irrepressible MC Alex Swailes.

Newcastle singer Kat Davidson, folk strand co-ordinator at the Sage Gateshead who first appeared a couple of years ago, also makes a welcome return.

New to this concert is young Longframlington singer, whistler and smallpiper Tristan Selden – who is fast making a name for himself in the folk music world.

The line-up is completed by Simply Northumbrian, a quartet of musicians from across the county led by Roy Hugman from Blyth, well known for his own compositions in the traditional style.

The 44th annual Morpeth Northumbrian Gathering takes place from April 29 to May 1, and as well as events on this year’s theme ‘On the Write Lines – railways, writers and reivers’, there will be special events marking the Royal Wedding and May Day.

Anyone wishing to become a patron receives ticket discounts for the main festival, and sponsors are invited to support any of the individual events ranging from a workshop session to a group of competitions or street performances.

The programme is available on the website www.northumbriana.org.uk and leaflets will be in libraries and tourist information centres from early March.

The Winter Concert will take place on Friday, March 11, from 7.30pm.

It usually sells out quickly so the public is advised to secure tickets as soon as possible, either by contacting Kim Bibby-Wilson on 01670 513308 or from the Morpeth Chantry tourist information centre (telephone 01670 535200). Adult tickets are £8 and concessions £7.