Archive for December, 2019

New Year Start 2020

Rehearsals will start again in the New Year on Wednesday 8th January 2020.

Please could you try and be there a little earlier so that scores for St.John Passion can be sorted out to allow a prompt start at 7.30 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you then.

Most enjoyable and uplifting

Our thanks to Vincent Smith for allowing the publication of this review of our concert on Saturday 7th December 2019, which was prepared for publication in the Sunderland Echo :

An imaginative programme was presented by the Bishopwearmouth Choral Society to a receptive audience at the Minster on Saturday Evening. Of the four works performed three were by Benjamin Britten. The opening item however was the Motet “Beatus Vir, a setting of Psalm 112 by Monteverdi. There is a direct joyfulness to the work which was captured from the onset. The contrasting textures and drama which are integral to the music of Monteverdi were fully captured and enhanced by the tasteful support of the instrumental group of two solo violins, organ and continuo.

The full string group were to give the chorus a well deserved rest as it performed the “Simple Symphony” in which Britten uses themes from four of his pieces, written when he was but a boy. The audience responded warmly to each of the movements in turn and not least to the delightful “Playful Pizzicato.” One of Britten’s most charming and uncomplicated works which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

A feature of the Choral Society is the encouragement and opportunity given to young singers and that a regular group known as Bishopwearmouth Young Singers, meet under the direction of Eileen Bown. What a contribution they made to this event! The Twelve Apostles introduced the soloist, Richard Pinkstone, a young tenor with a rapidly growing reputation. His interaction with the Young Singers as they faced each other was pleasing to eye and ear. Their interaction was also effectively communicated to the audience. How inspiring to hear youngsters sing with clarity of diction and tuneful voices and to be able to respond so wonderfully to the voice and personality of someone with whom they will have only had limited rehearsal time. Equally vital to the performance was the skill and musicianship of Eileen at the piano.

No work can be described as easy to perform but although written mostly for amateur performers St Nicholas, the first major work of Britten, does pose many challenges. Richard Pinkstone was ideal as St. Nicholas. There was another soloist too, Stephanie Little, one of the Young Singers who had important interjections to make which were performed with confidence and clarity. The Young Singers took the role of the treble soloists again to great effect and as in the 12 Apostles without copies. The chorus was in great form and clarity of diction helped to maintain audience involvement in the colourful story of the life St. Nicholas a mixture of fact and legend. Oh! And that includes us too; because the congregation get to take part as there are two hymns towards the end of the work. To the orchestra was added an organ (Colin Wood), percussion and a piano duo with Venera Bojkova joining Eileen Bown. David Murray the Music Director welded all together with his masterly conducting technique and musicianship to provide a most enjoyable and uplifting evening to which one must add the acoustic and environment of the Minster.

Vincent Smith


This performance was attended by The Right Worshipful the Mayor, Councillor David Snowdon, and his Mayoress, Councillor Dianne Snowdon, who joined the Patrons of the Society for a small reception before the performance.