Archive for June, 2024

A Date for your Diary

Wednesday the 4th September 2024 is the date you need in your diary to ensure that you are with us for the first rehearsal of the new season.

Please try and be at the Minster a little earlier so that scores can be organised ready for a prompt rehearsal start. The necessary AGM will take place a little later in the evening after some singing. If you have your own copy of a Watkins Shaw edition of Messiah it would be very helpful if you could bring that with you.

Papers for the AGM will be circulated nearer the time but until then we hope that you enjoy your summer.

Three quarters of a century and still going strong…

Saturday 15th June was the last concert of our 75th Anniversary season and it was quite a night. While the choir delivered a very different and more contemporary style of music, the concert also included a very lively contribution by Emma Fisk of music associated with and inspired by the first great jazz violin and guitar partnership.

Below is an excerpt from the concert programme providing an insight into what Bishopwearmouth Choral Society is all about – and has been for 75 years.

Three quarters of a century and still going strong…

Here we are now at the final concert of our 75th anniversary year. We had an excellent Christmas concert with a wide variety of music as well as support from Hill View Junior Singers. It was delightful to see young children and adults performing together.

Our second and major concert of the year was Elgar’s The Music Makers, a large-scale challenging piece of music supported by a forty-piece professional orchestra. It was a genuine pleasure and honour to be a part of something so grand and beautiful.

Tonight, we have something different again in presenting for you the Choral Society’s take on some of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century.

It is true that the majority of the Society’s work comes from the great choral tradition, and we have sung a wide variety from Bach to Bernstein, Haydn to Holst and Verdi to Vaughan Williams. This is a tradition we are proud to be a part of and we will continue to make music to the highest standards we are able. We do it because we love it. On a cold December evening in the Minster there is still a great feeling of community and a sense of purpose which makes us return week after week. This is expressed better by the great composer John Rutter, who said:

“Choral music is not one of life’s frills. It is something that goes to the very heart of our humanity, our sense of community and our souls. You express, when you sing, your soul in song. And when you get together with a group of other singers, it becomes more than the sum of the parts.”

Of course, none of this would be possible without the outstanding skill, patience and musical expertise of our Musical Director, David Murray and our superb piano accompanist, Eileen Bown. We are truly blessed in having such excellent musicians and teachers to guide us. They make the greatest challenges manageable and achievable.

So, seventy-five years in and we still have so much we want to do. We have a challenging and exciting repertoire in the planning for the next three to five years. We plan more collaborations with young singers, and singing students who are at the beginning of their careers as well as commissioning work from contemporary composers. We intend to play our part in the development of Sunderland as a Music City which aims to support the regeneration of the city through the arts, focusing on music.

I would also like to thank our Patrons and the Committee, who do so much to support the work of the Choral Society, and of course, our choral singers who dedicate themselves to rehearsals and performances.

If this seems interesting to you then why not come and join us. We rehearse every Wednesday evening from 7.30 – 9.30 in the Minster (restarting in September after a Summer break). You will find us a warm and friendly group and in John Rutter’s words you might even refresh your soul.

Mike Foster (Chair of Bishopwearmouth Choral Society)