Choir serves up a mixed music feast to help raise church funds

AN acclaimed North East singing group will be raising the roof in aid of a Morpeth church.

The Grainger Singers will perform at St James’s Church this weekend, with a programme designed to suit all musical tastes, ranging from Handel and Elgar to Richard Rodgers, Noel Coward and Abba.

Proceeds from the concert will go towards the second phase of refurbishment of St Mary’s Church in the town.

The Herald has previously reported on the first phase of the £100,000 project, which included creating a new disabled access, kitchen facilities, a toilet and community space, but fund-raising is continuing for the next stage to provide new heating and lighting systems.

It is hoped the concert will bring in extra funds after the singers proved a hit when they performed at St Aidan’s Church in Stobhill two years ago.

The group was founded by Michael Scott and his late wife Leila in 1981 from chorus members of Northern Opera, which presented a fully-staged production in the region for 50 years until 2006.

Originally, there were 10 singers who performed mainly opera, but over the years the choir has more than doubled in size and dramatically widened its repertoire to embrace music from the 16th century to modern classics and specially commissioned arrangements.

Its first accompanist, Hilda Grainger, proved so inspirational that the group was named after her and she continued to serve for 16 years, retiring at the age of 85. Since then, Ann Makepeace has been the accompanist.

The Grainger Singers perform concerts across the region and members are also active in other groups.

The Morpeth concert will take place at St James’s on Saturday at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £5, including interval refreshments, and are available from the Parish Office on 01670 503326, or on the door.