Chorus brings orchestra for its biggest concert yet

Robin Forbes rehearsing members of the Mid Northumberland Chorus
Robin Forbes rehearsing members of the Mid Northumberland Chorus

CONCERT-GOERS in Morpeth will be treated to musical entertainment of the highest order as the English Philharmonic Orchestra comes to town.

Representatives of the internationally-acclaimed music group will show off their talents in one of the biggest concerts to be held in the town.

The event next week will include around 170 singers and 30 musicians from the Mid Northumberland Chorus, King Edward VI High School (KEVI) and Chantry and Newminster Middle Schools.

The chorus has teamed up with KEVI on several occasions to stage a major musical work, but this is the first time that the local middle schools will have been involved.

Mid Northumberland Chorus Chairman Chris Lediard said: “We really expect this to be a sell-out event.

“There will be nearly 200 singers, including 60 from the middle schools. It is the most singers we have ever had.

“Getting members of the English Philharmonic Orchestra is quite a coup. This will be the first time they have performed here, as far as I’m aware.”

The programme will include Benedicite by Andrew Carter, performed by the school pupils, and the composer is expected to call into one of the rehearsal sessions.

The Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 by J.S. Bach will be performed by three KEVI soloists, Abbie Winfield and Rebecca Reed on flute, and Robyn Bartlett on violin.

After the interval, the audience will hear Faure’s Requiem, with 15-year-old Aggi Yates singing the solo Pie Jesu.

The teenager began singing lessons at the age of seven and also plays the ukulele and guitar. She will be following in the footsteps of her father, who performed the same piece in his school choir.

Baritone Paul Toward, who is the Mid Northumberland Chorus conductor, will also perform and the programme will be conducted by KEVI Director of Music Robin Forbes.

It will take place at the Riverside Leisure Centre in Morpeth, where the chorus has staged its previous events.

Mr Lediard said: “Once you have done something, it is very difficult to do another thing similar unless it is going to be better. You don’t want people to say it wasn’t as good as the last one. It is difficult, but we have to deliver something better every time. That’s why this concert is the biggest one we have done.”

The chorus seeks funding from a number of organisations to try to make ticket prices as low as possible so that the concerts are accessible to all.

Mr Lediard said: “We have had contributions from Morpeth Town Council, the Greater Morpeth Development Trust and Rutherfords so our thanks go to those three sponsors for supporting us.”

Riverside Leisure Centre Contract Manager Ian Hamlet said: “It is an honour for the Philharmonic Orchestra to perform at the centre. I hope to see the local community get behind this and make it an amazing night.

“Fingers crossed the weather stays fair and I am sure it will be a great success.”

The concert takes place on Saturday, March 8, at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £9 adults, £5 for school aged children, and are available from Stait Photography in Newgate Street, KEVI School Office, or from Mr Lediard on 01670 790268.