Sparkling evening of entertainment lined up

TALENTED singers, musicians and all-round entertainers from Northumberland will be taking centre stage for a colourful Royal celebration.

The performers are all part of the Flower Festival at St Nicholas Cathedral in Newcastle, starting next Thursday, which this year is in honour of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

As well as an extensive range of floral arrangements, taking in 42 themes covering various aspects of the Queen’s reign and more than 100 exhibits, there will be a series of musical and cultural events.

And former Castle Morpeth Mayor Ernie Coe, of Hartburn, has come to the rescue for the first of the musical evenings after the original host had to pull out due to ill health.

Mr Coe, who is well known as a Northumbrian raconteur, will now present Northumbrian Voices’ choral concert.

The event follows the opening of the festival by the Duchess of Northumberland and features four local choirs and soloists, including Morpeth’s John Bibby and Kim Bibby-Wilson, Voicemail, the Wannieliners, the Coquet Singers and the Mothers Union Diocesan Choir.

There will be the cathedral’s first mass singing of the 1828 folk song, The Fyiery Clocke Fyace, which was written about the church’s clock being lit by gas for the first time.

The concert takes place on Thursday, May 31, at 7pm.

The following evening, at 7pm, it will be the turn of the Northumbrian Ranters to entertain.

The group is made up of young musicians from across the county, with 45 students from Northumberland schools performing traditional music. Instruments include the fiddle, Northumbrian pipes, flute, cello, harp, guitar, concertina, keyboard and voice.

On Saturday, June 2 there will be a free ceilidh in the Cathedral Square, from 2pm to 3pm, and in the evening there will be a From Rationing to Recession Fashion Show and competition, showing fashion through the decades and creative recycled clothing made by local students. It will be compered by BBC weather presenter Hannah Bayman.

The festival concludes on Sunday, June 3 with a free recital by the Northumberland branch of the Clarsach Society, from 1pm to 3pm, and a service of celebration at 4pm.

There is free daytime entry to the exhibits from the Friday to Sunday. Tickets to each of the evening events cost £10, £7 concessions.

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